Newsweek: Cancer Clinical Trials: How New Search Tools Make It Easier For Patients To Find The Treatment They Need. “[Tom] Marsilje—who took care of his mother before she passed away from pancreatic cancer and watched several other family members fight cancer—studied medicinal chemistry and became an oncology and drug discovery researcher at Novartis, working primarily on lung cancer. He helped design and synthesize a lung cancer drug. In June 2012, his colleagues presented their Phase I clinical trial data at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. ‘It really had felt like we struck a blow to cancer,’ Marsilje says. Six hours later, cancer struck back. The 40-year-old Marsilje had a colonoscopy and got a diagnosis of Stage III colorectal cancer (CRC). He had surgery two days later. The cancer caretaker turned cancer researcher was suddenly a cancer patient. A short time later, he would also become a cancer activist, contributing one big solution to the daunting challenge many patients face of finding a clinical trial that offers them real hope.”
Wired: At ClinicalTrials.gov, Untested Stem Cell Clinics Advertise For Free!. “Advocates of the therapy say that’s just the cost of doing cutting-edge medicine. Except, any proof they have that it is effective comes from data collected on patients who pay thousands of dollars for the treatment. Usually people pay money for medicine after there’s proof it works. In the last few years, some of these stem cell clinicians have begun posting large-scale studies on a government-run website called ClinicalTrials.gov, even though they’re often not up to medical research standards or even in compliance with federal regulations. This allows them to masquerade their pay-to-participate studies as legit science.”
Deutsche Welle: Database highlights German doctors’ relations with pharma industry. “A new database allows German doctors to declare that they don’t receive money from pharmaceutical companies. Some 71,000 German doctors take money to test drugs – and are not obliged to disclose it.”
Monash University: Google map data to locate best hospitals for patients with stroke. “A world-first study at Monash University has used Google map data to locate the hospitals to which patients with stroke should be transported for urgent and highly specialised treatment.” If you read my recent article Why Aren’t We Talking About Google Maps? you’ll understand why this doesn’t fill me with delight.
Rice University: Paper: National database puts children with medically complex conditions at risk. “A proposed national database that would serve as a centralized source of information on children with medically complex conditions puts those children and their families at risk for discrimination by making their health information public, and therefore accessible to employers and health insurers, according to experts at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.”
MedicalXPress: New online database has answers on mitochondrial disorders. “Michigan State University biochemist Laurie Kaguni and her team have created a new tool—the POLG Pathogenicity Prediction Server – to help clinicians and scientists better diagnose POLG disorders and more accurately predict their outcomes. The tool is featured in BBA Clinical. Because of their central role in cellular energy production and multiple metabolic processes, mitochondrial diseases can affect organs, motor function and the nervous system. The wide spectrum of symptoms presented by these disorders poses significant challenges to their diagnosis. The database contains 681 anonymous POLG patient entries gathered from publicly available case reports. Each patient entry includes data on age of diagnosis and symptoms present.”
Wired: Medicine Is Going Digital. The FDA Is Racing to Catch Up. “Today, machine learning powers more and more medical device software. And because it is always learning and improving, it is constantly changing products on the fly. For most regulators, an ever-changing algorithm is their worst nightmare. But [Bakul] Patel is one of those rare Washington bureaucrats who’s also a fervently optimistic futurist. And he’s got big plans to get federal regulators off Washington time and up to Silicon Valley speeds.”