Study links communication, outcomes in cancer

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Doctor consults with cancer
patient and her father
Photo by Rhoda Baer
Better communication between cancer patients and healthcare providers may provide tangible benefits, according to research published in JNCCN. Cancer survivors who reported greater satisfaction in communicating with healthcare providers had better general health and mental health, fewer doctor visits, and reduced healthcare spending,... [Read Article]
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Protein ‘atlas’ could aid study, treatment of diseases

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Blood samples
Photo by Graham Colm
New technology has enabled researchers to create a “genomic atlas of the human plasma proteome,” according to an article published in Nature. The researchers identified nearly 2000 genetic associations with close to 1500 proteins, and they believe these discoveries will improve our understanding of diseases and aid drug development.... [Read Article]
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FA pathway key to DNA repair after CRISPR cutting

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DNA repair
Image by Tom Ellenberger
New research suggests the Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway plays a key role in repairing double-strand breaks (DSBs) created by CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. Researchers said they found that Cas9-induced single-strand template repair requires the FA pathway, and the protein FANCD2 localizes to Cas9-induced DSBs. The team said this research provides... [Read Article]
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Fitness trackers help monitor cancer patients

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Fitness trackers
Photo from Cedars-Sinai
A small study suggests fitness trackers can be used to assess the quality of life and daily functioning of cancer patients during treatment. Results indicated that objective data collected from these wearable activity monitors can supplement current assessments of health status and physical function. This is important because current assessments... [Read Article]
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NIH aims to improve access to cloud computing

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Researcher at a computer
Photo by Darren Baker
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is attempting to improve biomedical researchers’ access to cloud computing. With its new STRIDES initiative, the NIH intends to establish partnerships with commercial cloud service providers (CSPs) to reduce economic and technological barriers to accessing and computing on large biomedical data... [Read Article]
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Breakthrough drugs approved with less stringent criteria

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Prescription drugs
Photo courtesy of the CDC
Clinical trials supporting the approval of drugs with breakthrough therapy designation do not meet the same standards as trials for non-breakthrough drugs, according to researchers. Between 2012 and 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 46 breakthrough therapeutics on the basis of 89 pivotal trials. Researchers... [Read Article]
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Vaccine protects mice from malaria

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Lab mice
Photo by Aaron Logan
An RNA replicon-based vaccine can fight malaria infection in mice, according to research published in Nature Communications. The vaccine targets a protein, Plasmodium macrophage migration inhibitory factor (PMIF), which is produced by malaria parasites and suppresses memory T cells. The vaccine provided improved control of existing malaria infection as... [Read Article]
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FDA releases guidance docs on gene therapy

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DNA helix
Image by Spencer Phillips
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released several draft guidance documents on gene therapy. Three are disease-specific guidances—for hemophilia, rare diseases, and retinal disorders—and 3 are guidances on manufacturing gene therapies. These 6 documents are intended to serve as the building blocks of a modern, comprehensive framework... [Read Article]
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Conflicts of interest among FDA advisers

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Prescription drugs
Photo by Steven Harbour
An investigative report has unearthed potential conflicts of interest among physicians who serve on advisory panels for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The investigation revealed that some FDA advisers are receiving significant post-hoc payments from the makers of drugs they reviewed. The investigation also uncovered relationships between... [Read Article]
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EHRs enhance clinical trial follow-up

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Researcher at a computer
Photo by Darren Baker
Electronic health records (EHRs) can enhance results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs), according to research published in Scientific Reports. Researchers found EHRs could be used to track trial participants, enabling long-term monitoring of medical interventions and health outcomes and providing new insights into population health. ... [Read Article]
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Treating insomnia in cancer survivors

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Sleeping woman
Photo by Petr Kratochvil
Treatment with acupuncture or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can decrease the severity of insomnia among cancer survivors, according to new research. Overall, improvements in insomnia were greatest in patients treated with CBT, and patients with mild insomnia at baseline had a significantly greater improvement with CBT than with... [Read Article]
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Team analyzes skin odor to detect malaria

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Malaria-carrying mosquito
Photo by James Gathany
Changes in skin odor can reveal malaria infection in patients with no external symptoms, according to research published in PNAS. Researchers examined chemical compounds released from the skin of Kenyan children and discovered characteristic patterns in these compounds that identified patients with acute and asymptomatic malaria infections.... [Read Article]
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