Susana Machado • August 11, 2017

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.

Medical Associations Partner with the Human Diagnosis Project

Also known as Human Dx, the Human Diagnosis Project is an online system utilizing machine learning and crowdsourced knowledge to provide accessible care globally. Yesterday, it was announced that Human Dx will join forces with several organizations, including the American Medical Association, to form the Human Dx Alliance. The goal is to improve specialized care provided by the project.

 

Over the next five years, Human Dx plans to scale to support 30 million patients needing specialty care in the U.S., with a long-term goal of global impact. The platform works by letting doctors enter a case and essentially crowdsource knowledge from specialists contacted through the platform’s AI algorithm. This can cut down on the sometimes long and windy diagnosis process that often leaves patients frustrated and unsatisfied with the care they received.

Worried about Heart Disease? Now you can test for it

The developments in genetic testing just keep coming. This week, Color Genomics, a company known for their testing for genes associated with high risk of cancer, introduced a new section of testing for cardiovascular disease.

 

The test identifies a mutation that causes high cholesterol known as known as Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH). Early detection of FH is key as many patients are unaware of the mutation until they have a heart attack.

 

There is some dispute from cardiologists about whether the test is necessary as cholesterol tests are already fairly affordable and available.

Are Porcine Organs the Solution to Long Transplant Lists?

CRISPR is at it again with the world-altering research. Yesterday, the news came that researchers successfully removed a family of virus communicable to humans from piglets through genetic editing. Scientists have focused on pigs because their organs are a similar size to human’s and they can be bred easily and quickly.

 

The problem with pigs was one that now appears to be solved: They’re considerably biologically different from humans.

 

According to HHS, 116,00 people in the U.S. are currently waiting to receive a lifesaving organ transplant. Scientists are hopeful that alternative organ sources, like pigs, would lower this number significantly.

Immunotherapy Exhibits Promising Results for Type I Diabetes Treatment

A small clinical trial in the U.K. successfully treated 19 subjects with immunotherapy, allowing them to continue producing insulin. In contrast, patients receiving a placebo treatment had to increase their daily insulin use at an average of 50 percent.

 

The therapy exhibited no observable negative effects, despite some concerns from scientists that immunotherapy treatment could increase the immune system’s attack on insulin-producing cells.

 

For a disease that requires such intense self-medication and management, the promise of this immunotherapy is exciting news for those affected.

Microsoft Launches Blockchain Framework

Every industry seems to be attracted to the blockchain hype, and healthcare is no exception. Microsoft’s new framework, Coco, integrates with existing environments and therefore is considered “enterprise-ready.”

 

The appeal of blockchain for healthcare is mainly due to security. Health IT departments have identified it as a way to make health data “interoperable between EHRs and other software systems, and other emerging use cases.”

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