Big data to aid pediatric cancer precision medicine work | Side effect of volunteering for vaccine trial: Pride | University leaders urge POC to join vaccine trials
September 22, 2020
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The University of Chicago's Pediatric Cancer Data Commons joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's global master clinical trial of multiple treatments for pediatric acute leukemia. More than 200 research sites are participating in LLS PedAL, and the university's team will develop a data platform to match patients to appropriate clinical trials and treatments and another to aggregate and standardize pediatric leukemia data and make it accessible to researchers.
Full Story: Health IT Analytics (9/21) 
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Patient Engagement
Writer Molly Jong-Fast is Patient No. 1133 in a clinical trial of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine candidate -- the first clinical trial she's participated in. Jong-Fast doesn't consider herself brave, but widespread mistrust in the pace of vaccine development only strengthened her resolve to do something positive, and after receiving the second dose, "the main side effect has been the incredible sense of pride that I am now walking around with," she writes.
Full Story: The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (9/17) 
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Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough and Xavier University President Reynold Verret sent letters to their university communities explaining why they were participating in a Phase III trial of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine candidate and encouraged other "black and brown" people to participate, too. Systemic racism "should not preclude us from making sure that we have access to something that is necessary to save the lives of our people, especially given that African Americans and other people of color are dying and suffering from COVID-19 at disproportionate rates," Verret said.
Full Story: CNN (9/18) 
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Science and Technology
A panel of experts in medicine, virology, immunology, logistics and supply chain management say scientists are slightly more than halfway toward a widely available COVID-19 vaccine, and most don't expect a vaccine to be released within the next couple of months. Both China and Russia have released vaccines after the equivalent of Phase I/II testing, which Kelly Moore, associate director of immunization education at the Immunization Action Coalition, calls "high-stakes gambles."
Full Story: USA Today (9/17) 
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A single infusion of a monoclonal antibody derived from a recovered COVID-19 patient substantially reduced viral levels in recently infected patients and reduced the likelihood they would need to be hospitalized, Eli Lilly and Co. announced.
Full Story: The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (9/17),  STAT (tiered subscription model) (9/17) 
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Researchers estimated that there will be approximately 89,500 new cancer cases and 9,270 cancer deaths among adolescents and young adults in 2020. The findings, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, also showed that overall cancer incidence rose in all AYA age groups from 2007 to 2016, largely driven by thyroid cancer.
Full Story: Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (9/17) 
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The NIH is investing $82 million over five years to establish 11 multidisciplinary research centers focused on emerging zoonotic diseases in partnership with 28 other countries. If the effort succeeds, a worldwide surveillance network will be able to coordinate responses to evolving pathogens before they cause another pandemic.
Full Story: Wired (tiered subscription model) (9/17) 
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Finance and Economics
Illumina has signed an $8 billion cash-and-stock deal to acquire Grail, a startup working on a blood test to diagnose cancer at an early stage. Grail hopes to roll out its most promising test, called Galleri, in 2021.
Full Story: Reuters (9/21),  Xconomy (9/21) 
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Policy and Regulation
The FDA has released new guidance with steps for drugmakers to assess disease-related symptoms in clinical trials of drugs for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. The guidelines also offer general considerations when designing and implementing patient-reported outcome instruments, which were recommended by the FDA to be used "when measuring signs and symptoms best known by the patient or best measured from the patient perspective."
Full Story: Regulatory Focus (9/16) 
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Organizations urge caution on COVID-19 vaccine approval
Nearly 100 health care and scientific groups sent a letter calling on the FDA to continue adhering to "existing high standards of safety and efficacy" in approving any COVID-19 vaccination and to conduct testing of COVID-19 vaccines in all populations that have been disproportionately affected, with a priority on children, pregnant women and other groups who may have a different reaction to the vaccine. "Thorough and transparent FDA review of data supporting a vaccine's approval is the essential foundation upon which we can strengthen public confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine," the groups wrote.
Full Story: Diagnostic Imaging (9/20),  Radiology Business (9/18) 
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