Article Archive for September 2014
Our group has become increasingly active in clinical trials over the past several years and is currently involved in ongoing studies with several major…
From HEALTHeCAREERS Network – 01 Oct 2014 06:48:17 GMT
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Strong attention to detail with the ability to find and correct mistakes. Prefer minimum of 1 year clinical support, sales support, or customer service…
From Millennium Health – 01 Oct 2014 05:53:04 GMT
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Overview: ABOUT ALLIEDBARTON SECURITY SERVICES AlliedBarton Security Services is the industry’s premier provider of highly trained security personnel to many industries including commercial real estate, higher education, healthcare,…
There are a lot of “rare diseases” out there, a complex menagerie of conditions that you probably will never hear about. But every day, peop
There’s actually been a lot more movement recently from biotech and pharmaceutical companies on these diseases, for two reasons. First, the FDA is more willing to approve drugs for “orphan” diseases that have no other treatment. Second, the cost of caring for patients (especially in the US) is so high that companies can charge astronomical prices for drugs, which are paid for by insurance companies because they nevertheless represent a saving. And there we have a microcosm of the moral ambiguities associated with pharma in the developed world. It’s miserably expensive to develop treatments, and the failure rate is appalling, which means that the patients end up paying a huge overhead. And here in the land of the free, that means that there’s a substantial number of people who can’t access the treatments that they need.
Recently, ultra-rare diseases have gained a bit of attention. These are diseases that affect only a few people worldwide. The rarest of the rare is NGLY1 deficiency, which was the subject of a beautiful feature in the New Yorker by Seth Mnookin. There are only a handful of known patients in the world with this disease, and the fact that we even know about it is a testament to the persistence of the family of Bertrand Might, the young boy in whom the disease was first characterized. The story (you really do need to read Mnookin’s article) is a testament to what can be achieved, but also to how much we still need to do. With a few (rich) backers, NGLY1 deficiency has become a small but significant area of research, but it will be many years and a whole lot more money (it seems terribly mercenary to talk about cuts to medical research budgets here, but I’m going to anyway) before we can think about curing it.
Which makes me wonder: how many less well-connected people are suffering from diseases that we don’t even know about, let alone understand?
“If you think research is expensive, try disease!” – Mary Lasker
BS Biology, Chemistry or related with experience in GLP / FDA Regulated biotech Unpacking, inspecting and accessioning saliva samples Extract DNA from saliva…
From R&D Partners – 01 Oct 2014 03:36:48 GMT
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“You have to admire its simplicity. It’s one billionth our size and it’s beating us,”Dustin Hoffman, Outbreak. Warner Bros. Pictures
If you haven’t heard by now, Ebola has become a serious health issue in Africa. This disease was named after the Ebola River in Zaire, where the virus was first discovered. Although smaller outbreaks have occurred in the past, this newest rash of cases has killed nearly 3,000 people in West Africa (out of a total of nearly 6,000 reported cases1). The World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control have projected 1.4 million people could be infected by January 2015 and increased the estimated mortality rate from 50% to 70%2. But, before widespread panic sets in, let’s go over some of the facts and myths of this disease.
Don’t panic just yet. Pirates of the Caribbean. Walt Disney Pictures.
SymptomsThis disease is caused by Ebolaviruses (there are 5 strains, 4 of which can infect humans) and begins with flu-like symptoms of fatigue, fever, and muscle/joint/abdominal pain. Vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite can also be exhibited. In nearly half of these cases, patients will develop Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, which causes bleeding from mucosal tissues (gastrointestinal tract, eyes, ears, nose, vagina, and gums). Blood can also be found in the patient’s stool or vomit.
TransmissionEbola is thought to be a zoonotic disease, meaning it is transmitted from animals to humans. Bats are the most likely animal reservoir. The disease can then be passed on to animals like gorillas, chimpanzees, or duikers (a type of antelope). Humans can contract the disease by handling or eating one of these infected animals. Between humans, Ebola can be transmitted through contact of bodily fluids of the infected. Bodies of deceased patients can still be infectious, as is the semen of survivors for up to three months.
Part of the reason this has been so difficult to contain in Africa is the health care setup. Medical workers there may not wear protective clothing when dealing with the infected, and needles may be reused. Many facilities have been decimated by political or social unrest, and as such, lack basic equipment like gloves, masks and needles3. In addition, misinformation is fanning the flames of this disease.
Mythbusters, Discovery Channel.
MythsSome troubling myths4, 5have popped up during this outbreak. Some of the more rampant ones include:
Antibiotics, onions or salt water will protect you. Ebola is a virus and as such, antibiotics have no effect on it. Bad breath or not, there is no food or liquid diet that can prevent Ebola from infecting you.
International health care workers brought Ebola to West Africa. This is perhaps the most disturbing myth. Locals perceive healthcare workers as a potential threat, going so far as to attack and kill some of the workers who came by. Villagers see patients being taken to hospitals only to die, leading to rumors that the hospital is actually killing people. A lack of cooperation makes it difficult to educate locals and track down infected people for isolation.
American patients being brought back from Africa pose a risk to the rest of us. A certain outspoken billionaire decided to proclaim that bringing the infected Americans back to the U.S. put us all at risk. Ebola is not like SARS. It is not airborne and cannot be transmitted by casual contact. In addition, we have the proper equipment and care facilities to isolate and manage these patients. The two Americans who were brought back stateside were safely quarantined, treated, and discharged. Just a few days ago, the first case of Ebola was diagnosed stateside in Dallas, Texas. However, it should be noted that he had been visiting Liberia. The Dallas County Health Director, Zachary Thompson, commented, “Unless you have exchanged bodily fluids with this individual this is a low risk for people in Dallas County. We have a great infrastructure to deal with an outbreak6″.
You can bump the U.S. cases here to 1, but Ebola still isn’t an issue in the U.S.
The United States is purposely withholding a cure from Africa. While Ebola has no known cure, hope was kindled when those infected Americans were successfully treated with a drug known as ZMapp™. However, there has been some public outcry that we are not sharing this with our friends in Africa. This is addressed in the next section…
Treatment ZMapp™ (Mapp Biopharmaceutical) is a combination of three humanized monoclonal antibodies designed to recognize Ebola glycoproteins and inactivate it. To this point, ZMapp™ has been used to treat two people in the U.S. While it has been successfully tested on non-human primates7, its safety and efficacy in humans has not been fully validated yet. But, the WHO has decided to fast-track the use of this therapy and TKM-Ebola, which is made by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals and utilizes small interfering RNA to disrupt Ebola protein production. Blood transfusions of Ebola survivors are also being investigated since their antibodies may allow for passive immunity.While some might be wary of testing these early-phase drugs in Africa, the WHO stated, “it is ethical to offer unregistered therapeutic interventions to Ebola patients in the context of the current outbreak, while ensuring that as much information on their safety and efficacy is collected as possible8.” President Obama has stated the U.S. will help by building 17 Ebola treatment centers and deploying 3,000 military personnel (including doctors) to help combat the infection9.
Will ZMapp™ and TKM-Ebola help stop the spread of Ebola?
There is still much to be learned, but we are hopeful that the educational facts in this blog can help stem public ignorance on Ebola. You can check out the references below for more information or contact us if you have any comments: firstname.lastname@example.org. And, should you want to contribute to the fight against Ebola, you can donate with the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and AmeriCares.
Ebola death tolls.
Ebola mortality rate.
Poverty fueling Ebola spread.
Ebola virus: busting the myths.
The most destructive myths about Ebola.
Ebola diagnosed for first time in U.S.
Nature article on ZMapp™ and non-human primates.
Treatments beginning in West Africa.
Obama pledges help for Ebola outbreak.
Just when I think I got the hang of science…
Contributed by Ken Lau, PhD.
More than 600 health care and construction workers donned pink hard hats while forming a giant human ribbon at the UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center construction site today in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness month.
A rapidly growing, fast-paced biotech company, e. Bioscience provides innovative high quality reagents to researchers worldwide that empower the process of…
From Affymetrix – 30 Sep 2014 18:35:34 GMT
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Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have launched a Phase III clinical trial to evaluate the drug isradipine, a calcium channel blocker often used to treat high blood pressure, as a potential new treatment for Parkinson disease. The goal of the study is to determine whether the drug can slow the progression of the disease by keeping the brain’s dopamine-producing cells healthier for a longer period of time.