Assistant Professor Craig J. Ceol’s laboratory is using the fish to study the genes and genetic defects at work in melanoma, a dangerous skin cancer. His lab sits in the medical school’s Albert Sherman Center, a new $400 million building designed partly to position scientists so they can rub shoulders with one another. That proximity can be helpful when a molecular biologist, say, needs some help from bioinformaticians to make sense of the scads of data pouring out of experiments. But there’s more going on than just sharing services. UMass, like many academic medical centers across the country, is chasing “translational science” — the kind of discoveries that will produce medical products, treatments and services for patients. Link
2) Merck, Pfizer to jointly develop diabetes drug - Reuters – 4/29/2013
Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co Inc said they will co-develop Pfizer’s experimental type 2 diabetes drug ertugliflozin, both as a standalone product and in combination with other drugs, including Merck’s blockbuster Januvia. Link
3) PCORI Launches Clinical Research Network to Support Trials, Outcomes Research - PharmExec.com – 4/30/2013
The new National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) aims to provide patients and clinicians with useful information on treatment options and outcomes. By encouraging more comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER), the program also has potential to support development of new drugs and devices, explained PCORI executive director Joe Selby, in unveiling the program April 23. This prospect has generated enthusiasm for CER, along with concerns about how patient medical data could be misinterpreted and lead to erroneous conclusions. Link
4) Cancers Share Gene Patterns, Studies Affirm – The New York Times- 5/1/2013
Scientists have discovered that the most dangerous cancer of the uterine lining closely resembles the worst ovarian and breast cancers, providing the most telling evidence yet that cancer will increasingly be seen as a disease defined primarily by its genetic fingerprint rather than just by the organ where it originated. Link
5) PAREXEL acquires HERON, increases guidance - Mass High Tech- 5/1/2013
On the same day as PAREXEL International Corp. (Nasdaq: PRXL) reported double-digit growth and rasied its expectations for the next three months, the company announced its purchase of life science consultants HERON Group Ltd. The deal is worth up to $38 million. Link
My father was 48 years old when he passed away from kidney failure, a complication from type 2 diabetes. I saw how weak he was and the struggles he was going through. I gave him his insulin shots, bathed him, and at times, had to take him to the restroom. Diabetes is life-altering, but it is also life-threatening. I know firsthand what diabetes can do to a family and it is my mission to help others and spread awareness. It motivates me, on and off the field, to make a difference. My message to others is to make the most of every day, every opportunity when it comes to your health.
Diabetes can cause severe complications like stroke, blindness, heart and kidney disease, and amputations. My hope this November, which is National Diabetes Month, is that everyone takes the opportunity to raise awareness about this disease that affects close to 420,000 Massachusetts residents. In the U.S. alone, 25.8 million people are living with diabetes – 7 million are unaware they have it and 79 million have prediabetes – and the number is growing each year.
There seems to be a disconnect between how the general public perceives this disease and the reality of its toll on people with diabetes and on our society. If current trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. That can have an impact on all of us, from parents to children. We must take a team approach and step up our efforts to tackle this disease head on.
1) U.S. News Best Hospitals 2012-13: the Honor Roll
The medical centers in the Best Hospitals Honor Roll are members of an unusually exclusive club, one that makes up less than 0.4 percent of the nearly 5,000 hospitals nationwide that U.S. News evaluated for the 2012-13 rankings. The 17 hospitals on the list, most of them household names, excel across a broad spectrum of patient care, scoring at or near the top this year in at least six of the 16 Best Hospitals medical specialties.
2) Vertex celebrates topping off of Innovation District tower
Developer Joseph Fallon, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and a crowd of construction workers watched Thursday as the final beam for the first of two Vertex Pharmaceuticals office towers on Fan Pier was hoisted to the top of the 18-story building on Thursday. Work on the 1.1 million square foot global headquarters for Vertex is expected to be completed late next year.
3) Alnylam’s hereditary disease treatment shows promise, shares soar
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc’s stock soared more than 50 percent after the company reported that its experimental drug to treat an organ-damaging hereditary disorder showed promise in an early-stage trial by suppressing the protein that causes the disease. The drug aims to treat transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR), a disease caused by mutations in the transthyretin (TTR) gene.