A cancer vaccine?

There’s always healthy skepticism whenever something is called a ‘cure for cancer.’ Most healthcare professionals (hopefully, a percentage in the high nineties) are aware that cancer is a catch-all for a host of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth. But a cure for cancer seems a bit more realistic when immunotherapy is in the picture. Stanford researchers recently published study results detailing an unexpectedly highly effective method of body-wide tumor reduction in mice. The mice’s tumors were injected with two immune-stimulating agents, which led to the elimination of all metastases in the rodents, including in untreated areas. Senior author Ronald Levy’s work has previously led to the development of rituximab, one of the first biologics, so you know the research is legit.

Check out more of the really cool stuff happening in the oncology space in InsightCity’s HealthyDose of Oncology Trials.

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When he speaks, please listen

With all due apologies to EF Hutton (the commercial will make you feel older than you might want to), when Vasant Narasimhan, Global Head, Drug Development and CEO of Novartis speaks we should all probably listen. In a recent article he outlined three areas that will change medicine in 2018, and spoiler alert, they all have to do with “big” data. The three areas he outlines include; the Internet of things, AI and machine learning, and emerging data platforms. He also introduced InsightCity (and maybe you) to a new term: data lakes (def. virtual warehouses holding immense amounts of raw data in their native form.) Look for “data lakes” on an upcoming IC Buzzword Bingo. FYI, a great 60-minute precision medicine panel discussion from the World Economic Forum/Davos can be found here.

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Amazon is behind

Now that Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway have their healthcare sandbox to play in, guess who is a lot further along? Nope, not Dr. Feelgood, it’s the Chinese. According to a recent NY Times article, “tech companies like Alibaba and Tencent have made health care a priority for years, and are using China as their laboratory. After testing online medical advice and drug tracking systems, they are now focused on a more advanced tool: artificial intelligence.” A few tidbits about health in China = 1.5 doctors for every 1,000 people (~half the US), largest number of obese children in the world, and they have more diabetes patients (110 million) than anywhere else. And money is flowing everywhere. Tencent, the internet giant, is reportedly plowing tens of millions into American health tech start-ups. If you’re a person, this is good news, as more tech should equal better health.

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Tide Pods v2.0—less delicious looking

Apologies if this reads more like an editorial, but really? Two lawmakers in New York have proposed legislation that stipulates laundry detergent manufacturers must manufacture their products with uniform, dull colors in order to not encourage consumption by people. Of course, teenagers consuming laundry detergent is awful but anyone hypothesizing that they’re doing it because the pods look tasty has never met a teenager. I guess law makers gonna try to make laws. According to this article, there’s hope because similar efforts have failed in the past. Also, here’s a list of ridiculous warning labels. Because why not?

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Death of an opioid salesman

Purdue Pharma—which has seen negative press due to lawsuits alleging negligence in its opioid marketing campaigns—has decided the opioid marketing thing isn’t going well. Starting Feb. 12, Purdue’s just gonna stop promoting its opioid products like OxyContin to prescribers. Of course, there are people at Purdue whose job description is “promote opioid products to prescribers,” so if you’re looking for new sales team members, approximately 200 will be looking for a new job soon. It’s a positive move for the opioid manufacturer, which has been trying to recast itself as an ally in the fight against the US opioid epidemic. It’s also a decently jarring reversal from targeting high-volume prescribers with its marketing efforts, so we’ll see how genuinely people will perceive the action.

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