Friday roundup – October 6

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Americans Awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine

Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young won the prize for their work about the molecular functions behind the circadian rhythm, a powerful element of our biological clocks.

 

Using fruit flies, the trio isolated a gene which encoded a protein that gathers in cells at night, but degrades during the daytime. This degradation of the protein corresponds with the insect’s sleep-wake cycle. The honorees also discovered other contributors in their research which has led to a better understanding of our body clocks and what impacts them.

Do Let it Get Under your Skin

Last week, I wrote about the FDA’s approval of the first prick-free continuous glucose monitor. This week, MIT Technology Review profiled a team of University of Chicago researchers who a working to turn YOU into a continuous glucose monitor.

 

The team has genetically engineering mice skin cells to detect glucose, which can be grafted on the animal and monitor levels 24/7 with no battery or other upkeep. The process definitely needs to be refined, as currently the sensor can only be read using a laser and microscope. So, how’d they do it? CRISPR, of course.

CDC Links US Cancer Diagnoses to Obesity

The Center for Disease Control found that 40 percent of all cancer diagnoses in America are for those affiliated with obesity and being overweight. There are 13 different types of cancer that patients who are overweight are at an increased risk for.

 

Though overall cancer diagnoses in the U.S. have decreased since the ’90s, between 2005 and 2014 rates of cancer linked to obesity rose seven percent. Researchers are not yet sure why obesity is a factor in certain cancers or why the risk associated is not equal across all 13 cancers.

Sharing is Caring

Unless you are an EMR, that is. According to a recent study, only one of three hospitals in the US can send, receive, and find EMRs for patients that receive care elsewhere.

 

There was only about a five percent gain in interoperability between 2014 and 2015, which is slow growth for something that is supposedly going to revolutionize a patient’s care experience. This puts the burden on the patient, as they then need to print out and bring records with them from hospital to hospital.

Gene Therapy Still Debated

In a JAMA study, a child with ALD, a disease which causes nerves in the brain to die, was successfully treated with gene therapy. The typical treatment for ALD is a bone marrow transplant, but at a 20 percent mortality rate, it’s incredibly risky and often difficult to find a donor.

 

The news complicates the narrative surrounding gene therapy, which has been historically negative since the death of Jesse Gelsinger due to an experimental treatment in 1999. A recent death in a CAR-T trial also caused concern, however the FDA’s approval of the gene therapy shows progress.

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