first_img The biggest conflict among Republicans and Democrats on the drug issue centers on the GOP’s reluctance to give the government a role in directly negotiating prices. Adding to the pressure is the clear indication that the issue will be front and center in the 2020 campaign. Some states, such as California, are looking to find ways to bring down drug costs on their own. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has proposed that the state have direct negotiations with drugmakers. Such efforts could mean cutting off consumers’ access to some drugs, if manufacturers don’t agree to a price the state likes, and that is a painful choice for officials and patients. When House committee assignments were released this week, women were appointed to lead many of the key panels that have a hand in health policy, including the chairman and top Republican on the Appropriations Committee and two Energy and Commerce subcommittees. The House Democratic Caucus now has more liberal members and fewer conservatives, so the party’s efforts to roll back restrictions on abortion are likely to be more robust. That could also trigger some big battles with Republicans through the legislative session. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is putting a bill on the Senate floor that would make permanent the Hyde Amendment — which bars federal funding of abortions in nearly all circumstances. But it seems unlikely that bill could be passed by the Senate, where it needs 60 votes, and even some Republicans are believed to oppose it. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 17 2019 Related StoriesComputer-generated flu vaccine enters clinical trials in the USVirus killing protein could be the real antiviral hero finds studyCharacterizing and Isolating (Bio)macromolecular Structures using MALSPlus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read too:Julie Rovner: Bloomberg News’ “This JPMorgan Health Conference Is So Packed Attendees Are Meeting in the Bathroom,” by Kristen V BrownJoanne Kenen: The New York Times’ “The Strange Marketplace for Diabetes Test Strips,” by Ted AlcornMargot Sanger-Katz: Kaiser Health News’ “Patients Turn To GoFundMe When Money And Hope Run Out,” by Mark ZdechlikAlice Ollstein: The Washington Post’s “Federal Officials Launch Audit of D.C. Government’s Opioid Grant Spending,” by Peter JamisonThis story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Many drugmakers have announced price increases with the start of the new year. The new Congress wants to do something about that. And even though both Republicans and Democrats want to address the politically potent issue of drug prices, it is unclear what they might be able to agree on.Battle lines are forming between the House and Senate on the matter of abortion. The House is led by abortion-rights supporters and, since the election, the Senate has become slightly more against abortion.And even though the majority of the Department of Health and Human Services remains unaffected by the partial government shutdown, the lapse of funding for other agencies is having spillover effects on health programs.This week’s panelists for KHN’s “What the Health?” are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Alice Ollstein of Politico.Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:last_img read more

read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 7 2019The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Cablivi (caplacizumab-yhdp) injection, the first therapy specifically indicated, in combination with plasma exchange and immunosuppressive therapy, for the treatment of adult patients with acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP), a rare and life-threatening disorder that causes blood clotting.”Patients with aTTP endure hours of treatment with daily plasma exchange, which requires being attached to a machine that takes blood out of the body and mixes it with donated plasma and then returns it to the body. Even after days or weeks of this treatment, as well as taking drugs that suppress the immune system, many patients will have a recurrence of aTTP,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Cablivi is the first targeted treatment that inhibits the formation of blood clots. It provides a new treatment option for patients that may reduce recurrences.”Patients with aTTP develop extensive blood clots in the small blood vessels throughout the body. These clots can cut off oxygen and blood supply to the major organs and cause strokes and heart attacks that may lead to brain damage or death. Patients can develop aTTP because of conditions such as cancer, HIV, pregnancy, lupus or infections, or after having surgery, bone marrow transplantation or chemotherapy.The efficacy of Cablivi was studied in a clinical trial of 145 patients who were randomized to receive either Cablivi or a placebo. Patients in both groups received the current standard of care of plasma exchange and immunosuppressive therapy. The results of the trial demonstrated that platelet counts improved faster among patients treated with Cablivi, compared to placebo. Treatment with Cablivi also resulted in a lower total number of patients with either aTTP-related death and recurrence of aTTP during the treatment period, or at least one treatment-emergent major thrombotic event (where blood clots form inside a blood vessel and may then break free to travel throughout the body).The proportion of patients with a recurrence of aTTP in the overall study period (the drug treatment period plus a 28-day follow-up period after discontinuation of drug treatment) was lower in the Cablivi group (13 percent) compared to the placebo group (38 percent), a finding that was statistically significant.Common side effects of Cablivi reported by patients in clinical trials were bleeding of the nose or gums and headache. The prescribing information for Cablivi includes a warning to advise health care providers and patients about the risk of severe bleeding.Health care providers are advised to monitor patients closely for bleeding when administering Cablivi to patients who currently take anticoagulants.The FDA granted this application Priority Review designation. Cablivi also received Orphan Drug designation, which provides incentives to assist and encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases.The FDA granted the approval of Cablivi to Ablynx. Source:https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm630851.htmlast_img read more

read more

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 22 2019UT Southwestern researchers have identified two proteins that act as gatekeepers to dampen a potentially life-threatening immune response to chronic infection.The proteins – the transcription factors SIX1 and SIX2 – activate cellular pathways required for fetal development and later switch to a new role in which they repress these pathways in adult immune system cells. The findings are published today in Nature.”This work provides insight into the molecular components required to limit tissue damage associated with uncontrolled inflammation, such as in septic shock, and reveals how cancer cells may suppress the innate immune system during tumor genesis,” said Dr. Neal Alto, Professor of Microbiology at UT Southwestern and corresponding author of the study.Transcription factors are proteins that bind to special regions of DNA to turn genes on (activate them) or off (repress them). “One of the surprising findings was that a transcription activator that is essential for the development of tissues and organs has been repurposed as a transcriptional repressor in the immune system. While transcription factors can be used differently in various stages of life, a switch from a transcriptional activator in the fetus to a suppressor in adult immune cells is infrequent,” said Dr. Alto, who holds the Lorraine Sulkin Schein Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Microbial Pathogenesis. Dr. Alto is also a UT Southwestern Presidential Scholar and a Rita C. and William P. Clements, Jr. Scholar in Medical Research.He added that the work provides a new pathway for controlling inflammation, which could be important for developing new drugs. It also might explain how cancer cells develop chemotherapy resistance.The researchers found that the two proteins showed inhibitory activities when bound to genes involved in inflammation. Specifically, SIX1 and SIX2 appeared to dampen the body’s immune response to prevent damage associated with a potentially life-threatening condition called a cytokine storm, which can occur in chronic inflammatory conditions. “A cytokine storm can occur when the body’s immune cells and activators (cytokines) show an overresponse to a health threat such as the flu,” he explained.Related StoriesComplement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchFibrinogen a key player in health and disease, says new studyChronic inflammation removes motivation by reducing dopamine in the brainAn experiment with transgenic mice found that expression of SIX1 in adulthood conferred near-complete recovery following exposure to a toxin released by gram-negative bacteria that can set off a cytokine storm. The two SIX proteins seem to dampen the response of the so-called noncanonical NF-κB pathway, a signaling cascade that is instrumental in the development of the lymph organs, the maturation of the immune system’s antibody-producing B cells, and the development of bone cells. The same pathway is involved in the body’s immune defense in adulthood.The studies, which initially focused on bacteria and viruses, also shed light on mechanisms of cancer cell resistance to drug treatment, Dr. Alto said.In one series of experiments, the team found that cancer cells derived from patients with treatment-resistant non-small cell lung cancer expressed high levels of the SIX1 and SIX2 proteins. The scientists used the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology to remove the genes that produce those two proteins, making the cancer cells dramatically more sensitive to a promising drug class called SMAC mimetics.”In summary, we have established that SIX family transcription factors function as immunological gatekeepers, regulating the activity of inflammatory genes in response to noncanonical NF-κB pathway activation,” he said. “These findings indicate that disruption of this pathway could have important consequences for the pathogenesis of human disease, including cancer.” Source:https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/newsroom/articles/year-2019/reducing-inflammation.htmllast_img read more

read more

first_imgRisk reduction for Alzheimer’s disease is now more critical than ever due to the continued lack of a cure or effective disease-slowing treatment,”Dr. Joshua S. Talboom, a Postdoctoral Fellow in TGen’s Neurogenomics Division, and a member of Dr. Huentelman’s lab Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 21 2019Results from a study of nearly 60,000 individuals suggest those at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease due to family history may demonstrate changes in memory performance as early as their 20s.Researchers from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, and the University of Arizona gathered the data through an online word-pair memory test called MindCrowd, one of the world’s largest scientific assessments of how healthy brains function.Published today in the scientific journal eLife, study data suggests that those with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, and who are younger than 65, on average do not perform as well as their peers who do not have a family history of Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia.The study results suggest that the family history effect is particularly pronounced among men, as well as those with lower educational attainment, diabetes, and carriers of a common genetic change in APOE, a gene long associated with Alzheimer’s disease risk.While family history has previously been associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s, this is the first study of its kind, and in these numbers, that indicates this risk can be detected up to four decades before the typical age of onset. The study looked at 59,571 MindCrowd participants aged 18-85, and the effect of family history was shown across every age group, up until age 65.”In this study we show that family history is associated with reduced paired-associate learning performance as many as four decades before the typical onset of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Matt Huentelman, TGen Professor of Neurogenomics, and the study’s senior authorBecause there is no cure or proven way of slowing progressive memory-loss among those with Alzheimer’s, early indicators of the disease can help those at risk to focus on ways to help stave off dementia. Related StoriesGenetic contribution to distractibility helps explain procrastinationResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer risk”This study supports recommendations underscoring the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and properly treating disease states such as diabetes,” said Dr. Talboom, the study’s lead author. “Our findings specifically highlight the positive effects of such interventions for those with a family history risk of Alzheimer’s, opening the door to the development of more targeted risk-reduction approaches to combat the disease.”In addition, this study underscores the utility of web-based participant recruitment to research studies like MindCrowd, facilitating large sample sizes in a cost- and time-effective fashion, said Dr. Lee Ryan, a University of Arizona Alzheimer’s researcher, who along with the UA’s Dr. Betty Glisky, helped Dr. Huentelman develop MindCrowd. Drs. Ryan and Glisky were contributing authors to the study.”It should be acknowledged that that web-based studies are not without concerns. However, we propose that the advantage of considerably larger sample sizes and enriched participant diversity in online research mostly diminishes the potential disadvantages,” Dr. Ryan said.The MindCrowd study began in 2013. By August 2018, it had nearly 60,000 qualified participants, whose performance is reflected in the study. Today, more than 115,000 people, aged 18-95 — from all 50 states and 150 nations around the world — have completed the MindCrowd assessment.MindCrowd cannot tell you if you have Alzheimer’s. What it does give researchers is a set of data baselines about how people not suffering from the disease perform at different ages; among men and women, among those with quick and slow physical responses, among those who smoke and those who don’t, and among many other demographic, lifestyle and health factors.Establishing these baselines will help researchers to more properly evaluate Alzheimer’s patients and usher in a new era of what the MindCrowd developers describe as Precision Aging.Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological disorder that typically presents clinically as deficits in memory and thinking. It is estimated that more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and that by 2050 that number will nearly triple to almost 14 million. Source:The Translational Genomics Research InstituteJournal reference:Talboom, J. et al. (2019) Family history of Alzheimer’s disease alters cognition and is modified by medical and genetic factors. eLife. doi.org/10.7554/eLife.46179last_img read more

read more

first_img Explore further Bloomberg News said the tiny chips were place in gadgets made for Amazon and Apple, and possibly for other companies and government agencies.The article comes as China-US relations are strained by a long-running trade war, claims of intellectual property theft by Beijing and an accusation China is trying to sway upcoming elections.The chip story “plays heavily into the view that the Sino-US trade stoush is not just about Trump’s infatuation with the size of the US-China bilateral trade balance”, said Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at the National Australia Bank. “But is a much more geopolitical affair as well as being related to China’s desire to dominate the technology sphere. It means that an early resolution of Sino-US trade issued is not a realistic prospect.”The sell-off comes as tech firms around the world struggle on profit-taking following a healthy rally in recent years, while chip makers are also being hurt by falling demand.In morning Hong Kong trade PC maker Lenovo tanked more than 17 percent, while mainland-based telecoms equipment maker ZTE plunged 11.4 percent.AAC Technologies a Hong Kong firm listed in the city, sank almost two percent, while in Taipei HTC sank 3.6 percent, Realtek was almost seven percent off and Delta Electronics retreated 4.5 percent.”Electronics produced in China may be viewed unsafe due to this news, and tech shares are falling in general because of that,” said Ray K W Kwok, an analyst at CGS-CIMB Securities Hong Kong.With around a third of its revenue coming from North America, Lenovo could be in particular trouble.And ZTE was already struggling to recover its losses for the year after collapsing 40 percent in June in response to a Washington decision to ban US companies from selling crucial hardware and software components to it for seven years. While the ban was eventually lifted after it agreed to pay a huge fine, its share price remains subdued.”The hack report has nothing to do with Lenovo, but since Lenovo sells PCs and servers there, some investors may have concerns on a sentiment level,” Dennis Guan, a senior analyst at eFusion Capital. “It’s just too hard to predict how things will develop.”The report added to already tense relations between the world’s top two economies as they slug out a trade war that has seen them impose tariffs on hundreds of billions worth of goods.Vice President Mike Pence added to the uncertainty by accusing Beijing of military aggression, commercial theft and rising human rights violations, while saying it was bent on interfering in upcoming US elections.”There can be no doubt—China is meddling in America’s democracy,” he warned. Citation: Lenovo shares pummelled in Hong Kong after microchip report (2018, October 5) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-lenovo-pummelled-hong-kong-microchip.html China’s Lenovo led a sharp tech sell-off in Asia on Friday after a report said Beijing had used microchips inserted in US computer goods as part of a drive to steal technology secrets. China’s ZTE dives 39% at resumption of trading in Hong Kongcenter_img © 2018 AFP This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The plunge in Lenovo and ZTE’s shares comes as tech firms around the world suffer losses following recent strong gainslast_img read more

read more