Great news for individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and not so great news for pharma companies holding patents on the monoclonal antibody-based biologics currently used to treat RA. An Australian biotech, Mesoblast, completed Phase II clinical trials on its stem cell treatment for rheumatoid arthritis to astounding results (some have inserted the word “cure” here). In a test designed to identify whether the stem cell treatment is efficient—by achieving 20% relief of signs and symptoms—researchers instead saw a 70% improvement among more than one-third of the patients who received MPC-300-IV. Since some RA patients are unable to take biologics, a stem cell therapy could benefit wider audiences.
Leaving an unencrypted laptop containing more than 2,230 patient records in an unlocked vehicle overnight might be a bad idea. Even more so when it turns up stolen and your company is facing its third major security breach in a single year. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “Demographic information, clinical information, health insurance information, patient names, addresses, credit card numbers and their expiration dates, and dates of birth” are some of the data stolen during three incidents for Advocate Health Care Network in 2013. Those mishaps have resulted in a $5.5 million settlement with the HHS, the largest data breach settlement ever. Advocate, however, reports that there have been no indications that the information has been misused… Yet. Yay?
Even though it seems like a reasonable explanation when you consider the 450,000 condoms being distributed within the Olympic village, instead, the splotches are the after-effect of the newest Olympic fad: cupping (yes we know, it even sounds gross). However the process itself is not a fad, it’s been done for at least 2,000 years along with other forms of traditional Chinese medicine like acupuncture. Similar to other forms of TCM, cupping doesn’t have a lot of rigorous clinical data to support it yet. The randomized clinical trials investigating cupping tend to have high risk of bias or small sample sizes, but according to those — and apparently Michael Phelps — it’s great for pain relief.
Doctors visits due to coughs
Source: Centers for Disease Control
Would you be willing to provide the government with your de-identified genetic and lifestyle data for research purposes?
The Zika virus has crossed the U.S. southern border and will soon be taking jobs away from American viruses. With Zika now active in the U.S., and not just from travelers abroad, the search intensifies for a vaccine to prevent the spread. A new category of therapies, DNA vaccines, appears all the rage. It’s new because no DNA vaccine has ever been approved for sale. DNA vaccine trials are currently underway by the NIH, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and GeneOne Life Science. Still barely interested in Zika? Here’s NASA’s forecast for its spread in the U.S. Or maybe you’re not worried because you live in Europe? Well then, here’s a fun read. You’re welcome.
Remember when Theranos was making huge waves in the med device market just months ago? They’ve taken a pretty awful bludgeoning since then. In a move to regain footing, the company recently debuted a new technology, “miniLab,” at the American Association of Clinical Chemistry’s annual meeting. However, in addition to the fact that miniLab’s technology already exists, the debut was a surprise to the expert attendees who were expecting a straight-up explanation about the company’s original (and completely unrelated) blood-testing device that got CEO and founder Elizabeth Holmes banned from running a clinical testing company. It is still under fire concerning its highly inaccurate test results. Some daresay the miniLab release was a distraction from Theranos’ looming woes, but “forgive and forget” isn’t big on the scientific scene.