Medical Progress Today
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Volume 4, Number 19
June 8, 2007


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In the Spotlight

Science Pioneer Cautions Europe on Declining Medical Innovation

Jurgen Reinhoudt, Medical Progress Today, 6-8-07

The European Inventor of the Year 2007 Awards recently took place in Munich, Germany. This year, accolades for medical research took center stage as Dr. Marc Feldmann of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in London received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Continue reading . . .

News

FDA: 'Black Box' for Avandia
USA Today, 6-7-07

Editor's Notes:

The Avandia saga continued this week with a heated Congressional hearing and the FDA issuing black box warnings for Avandia and a related drug Actos.
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Deal for Smallpox Vaccine Could Jump-Start BioShield
Washington Post, 6-7-07

Editor's Notes:

The Washington Post reports that the federal Bioshield program is trying to salvage its reputation (and its program) with a new contract for a type of smallpox vaccine that should be safer for individuals with compromised immune systems.
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Researchers Detect Variations in DNA That Underlie Seven Common Diseases
The New York Times, 6-7-07

Editor's Notes:

The Times reports that researchers have uncovered two dozen genes linked to common ailments like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
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Drop in Cardiac Deaths Tied to Better Treatments, Lifestyles
Forbes, 6-7-07

Editor's Notes:

Researchers report that the mortality rate from heart disease fell in the U.S. by almost 50% during the last two decades of the 20th century, thanks to better medical treatments and improved health habits. The bad news: gains are being partially offset by increases in obesity and diabetes, which are powerful risk factors for heart disease.
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Giuliani Health Proposal Seeks Individual Coverage; Candidate to Unveil Market Based Plan Easier on Employers
Wall Street Journal, 6-6-07

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, one of the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, has begun to flesh out his plans for health care reform. Giuliani's plan is market friendly, and is based on giving individuals more control and responsibility for their own health care:

Mr. Giuliani, currently leading opinion polls for the 2008 Republican nomination, wants to move tens of millions of people from employer–based health insurance to the individual market as a way of giving people more coverage choices. It is an idea he alluded to in Tuesday's Republican debate in Manchester, N.H., and later expanded on in an interview...
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Cancer Catch-22; Researchers want to know if a pill can prevent breast cancer, but U.S. calls study too risky for healthy volunteers who won’t get disease.
Chicago Sun-Times, 6-6-07

Editor's Notes:

The National Cancer Institute has put on indefinite hold a study looking at how two cancer drugs might actually prevent breast cancer from taking root in the body:
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Good, bad news on breast cancer; drug curbs relapses, but eligibility tests raise major doubts
Chicago Tribune, 6-5-07

Editor's Notes:

While we are bullish on the future of genetic screening for disease, and the ability of gene tests to help develop better, more targeted medical treatments, the reliability of some current genetic tests leaves much to be desired, as the Tribune reports in this article:
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Antipsychotics may bear fatal risks
The Globe and Mail, 6-5-07

Editor's Notes:

While Congress and the media are in a tizzy over who-knew-what–where–when over the FDA and Avandia, this article may help put some of these questions into perspective by reminding readers that while initial studies on the risks of newer drugs may make them appear more dangerous than older medicines, additional studies may wind up contradicting those findings.
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Will you get cancer?
Forbes, 5-31-07

Editor's Notes:

Forbes offers an overview on how rapidly genetic testing is evolving, and suggests that in the next 5-10 years there will be a wave of new genetic tests coming to market.
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Commentary

Fateful Voice of a Generation Still Drowns Out Real Science
John Tierney, The New York Times, 6-5-07

Tierney argues that the celebration of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring skips blithely over the millions of lives lost from malaria in developing nations—which could have been saved by prudent use of pesticides like DDT. Read the whole thing.
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Avandia-type crisis could hit other drugs
Reuters News, 6-4-07

In this interview with Fred Hassan, CEO of Schering–Plough, Hassan argues that data transparency on the web is leading to an explosion of "questionable third party analysis."
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Balancing Medical Risks; The FDA needs more authority to monitor drugs following their approval
Washington Post, 6-4-07

The Post argues, correctly we think, that the rush to judgment over Avandia is actually evidence that the FDA needs more resources to conduct a careful analysis of the postmarket risks and benefits of medicines.
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At risk: vaccines
Paul A. Offit, The Boston Globe, 6-3-07

Offit, a vaccine inventor and chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, argues that thousands of lawsuits alleging that vaccines cause autism are poised to deal a fatal blow to the vaccine industry.
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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

Science Pioneer Cautions Europe on Declining Medical Innovation

NEWS

FDA: 'Black Box' for Avandia
Deal for Smallpox Vaccine Could Jump-Start BioShield
Researchers Detect Variations in DNA That Underlie Seven Common Diseases
Drop in Cardiac Deaths Tied to Better Treatments, Lifestyles
Giuliani Health Proposal Seeks Individual Coverage; Candidate to Unveil Market Based Plan Easier on Employers
Cancer Catch-22; Researchers want to know if a pill can prevent breast cancer, but U.S. calls study too risky for healthy volunteers who won’t get disease.
Good, bad news on breast cancer; drug curbs relapses, but eligibility tests raise major doubts
Antipsychotics may bear fatal risks
Will you get cancer?

COMMENTARY

Fateful Voice of a Generation Still Drowns Out Real Science
Avandia-type crisis could hit other drugs
Balancing Medical Risks; The FDA needs more authority to monitor drugs following their approval
At risk: vaccines

COMING SOON!!

New book by Regina Herzlinger: Who Killed Health Care: America's $1.5 Trillion Problem - and the Consumer-Driven Cure (McGraw-Hill, June 2007)

Advanced copies available now at Amazon

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