Researchers grow blood vessels from personalized stem cells | PhRMA reports 73 drugs, vaccines being developed for HIV/AIDS | Héma-Québec to quarantine about 50% of blood supply
November 30, 2012
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Researchers grow blood vessels from personalized stem cells
British researchers succeeded in developing personalized stem cells from a patient's own blood. The method involved identifying a type of repair cell in the blood and then converting these cells into stem cells. In this study, published in the journal Stem Cells: Translational Medicine, the cells were then used to grow blood vessels. Researchers said the next step is to develop the cells into clinical-grade cells. BBC (11/29)
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Science & Health
PhRMA reports 73 drugs, vaccines being developed for HIV/AIDS
Drugmakers are developing 73 drugs and vaccines for patients with HIV/AIDS, according to a Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America report, and pharma innovation is changing the disease from a death sentence to a manageable condition, another report found. "Incredible strides have been made in the battle against HIV/AIDS, but the disease still poses a global threat, and the collaborative path to further solutions for patients will be complex," PhRMA CEO John J. Castellani said. "The nearly 75 medicines in development offer great hope for better treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS in the years ahead." Drug Store News (11/29)
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Héma-Québec to quarantine about 50% of blood supply
Héma-Québec, the provincial blood bank in Quebec, Canada, said it is quarantining almost 50% of its shelved blood because small cracks were discovered in the bags used to collect blood. The blood bank said the cracks may lead to air exposure, which would be conducive to bacterial growth in the blood. The move led to the postponement of elective surgeries across hospitals in Quebec. Quarantined blood found to be safe will be redistributed to hospitals, the blood bank said. (Canada)/The Canadian Press (11/29)
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Emerging Trends
Leapfrog issues patient safety grades for U.S. hospitals
The Leapfrog Group issued an updated Hospital Safety Score report this week, giving "F" grades to 25 hospitals and "D" marks to another 121 facilities, including the Cleveland Clinic. The data show 790 of 2,618 hospitals got an "A" grade and 23% got a higher rating than in the June report. Leapfrog's scoring methodology has been criticized by some hospitals. HealthLeaders Media (11/28)
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Industry News & Practice
CMS issues quality reporting waivers to storm-hit hospitals
CMS has sent notice to quality improvement organizations notifying them of its plans to waive certain quality reporting requirements for storm-hit hospitals in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Hospitals in these areas may have suffered damage to their records or data systems as well as to their physical facilities. (11/29)
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Tangent secures $8.6M to bring IV catheter to market
Tangent Medical Technologies, a spinoff of the University of Michigan's Medical Innovation Center, obtained $8.6 million from nine backers in a round of equity financing. The money is expected to be used to market the company's NovaCath system, an FDA-cleared intravenous catheter designed to promote patient comfort, avoid blood spatters and protect patients from pathogen exposure. (11/29)
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Empire Genomics gets biomarker license for multiple myeloma test
Empire Genomics has obtained an exclusive license from Emory University covering a genomic biomarker that will be used to develop a molecular diagnostic test to help identify treatments best suited for multiple myeloma patients. Empire Genomics said a Phase II trial is being undertaken to test the capability of the technology in predicting response to newer drugs for the blood disease. GenomeWeb Daily News (free registration) (11/29)
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Rib-X raises $18.7M for trial of skin infection drug
Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, which specializes in infectious disease drugs, secured $18.7 million in the first tranche of a stock financing round targeted at $67.5 million. The firm will use the proceeds to fund a late-stage trial of delafloxacin, an advanced antibiotic designed to treat acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The Hartford Courant (Conn.) (11/29), Mass High Tech (Boston) (11/29)
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Government & Regulatory
FDA review times and approvals under 510(k) process improve, report says
An FDA report issued this week says about 80% of medical devices submitted under the 510(k) process were approved this year, compared with 73% two years ago. The agency said this was due in part to better submissions from manufacturers. The report also notes the average time for a device to receive 510(k) clearance dropped last year, the first time in seven years. Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal/Innovation|Minnesota blog (11/29)
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European Commission gets new health leader
The European Commission has confirmed Tonio Borg, Malta's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, as its new health commissioner, replacing John Dalli. Borg will oversee the commission's regulatory programs involving drugs, medical devices and other industries through Oct. 31, 2014. Clinica (subscription required) (11/29)
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CMS rolls out $692M in EHR incentives in Oct.
CMS paid $692 million in EHR incentives to hospitals, doctors and other eligible professionals in October, bringing the total payout to slightly more than $8.4 billion since the program commenced. The agency has paid $2.84 billion in Medicare and Medicaid incentives for physicians and other professionals since early last year, while hospitals received almost $5.38 billion during the same period, CMS said. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (11/29)
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Association News
AABB requests nominations for 2013, 2014 memorial awards
AABB is seeking nominations for its 2013 and 2014 memorial awards, which will honor individuals who have advanced the practice of transfusion medicine and cellular therapies. The awards are presented to recognize achievements in administration, immunohematology, quality and innovative research, and overall outstanding service. Individuals are encouraged to nominate candidates by completing and submitting the online nomination form by Jan. 25. Recipients will be honored at the 2013 AABB Annual Meeting in Denver or the 2014 AABB Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
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