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Couples exposed to Zika virus are urged to delay pregnancy

first_img Follow the Zika virus through time and space It might seem like the Zika virus exploded out of nowhere in Brazil a few months ago, but the virus has been all over the world since it was discovered in Uganda in 1947. Use the button to manually navigate the globe through the years, or drag your cursor to rotate it, and click on countries to discover the distribution of the Zika virus infection and associated neurological disorders across time and geographies, starting in 1947. @HelenBranswell About the Author Reprints Related: The CDC also raised concerns Friday that access to contraception is inadequate in Puerto Rico, which is expected to be hit hard by the Zika virus.The agency estimates that one in five people on the island will have been infected by the end of 2016. Already 258 locally acquired cases of Zika infection have been detected there, and at least 24 of those people are pregnant women.As many as 138,000 women in Puerto Rico who don’t want to become pregnant aren’t using effective contraception, the agency estimated, adding cost and availability are barriers to increased use there.A study suggested 65.5 percent of pregnancies in Puerto Rico are unplanned. And the island’s teen pregnancy rate is 67 percent higher than that of the US mainland. In Puerto Rico, 40 teens out of every 1,000 become pregnant, compared to 24 per 1,000 teens in the US. Noriany Rivera, who is 40 weeks pregnant, at a public hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is expected to be hit hard by Zika. Alvin Baez/Reuters The new advice to delay conception relates to men and women who have been diagnosed with Zika or who have had symptoms and are suspected of having been infected. Jamieson said some couples living in places where Zika is spreading locally may decide to delay pregnancy. Currently three US territories are experiencing local spread: Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the US Virgin Islands.advertisement By Helen Branswell March 25, 2016 Reprints Zika: the origin and spread of a mosquito-borne virus. HealthCouples exposed to Zika virus are urged to delay pregnancy But when asked if the CDC was considering urging women in these locations to postpone getting pregnant, Jamieson side-stepped the question.“I think decisions regarding when and how to have children are personal and complex,” she said, adding that CDC’s job is to give people information with which to make those decisions.The guidance is based on limited data, the agency acknowledged, and may need to be updated as more becomes available.The United States has recorded six cases of sexual transmission of the virus since the current outbreak in the Americas began, and other countries — Argentina, Austria, Italy, and France — have also seen such cases.There have been reports in the scientific literature of infectious virus being found in semen at least two weeks after the onset of symptoms of Zika infection. And scientists in Britain reported finding traces of the virus in the semen of a man 62 days after he became ill.center_img Tags CDCwomen’s healthZika Virus 5 things the world has learned about Zika so far Data visualization: TALIA BRONSHTEINSources: Zika virus infection. Disease outbreak news. Uganda1952 Uganda1952 The first human cases are detected in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania in a study demonstrating the presence of neutralizing antibodies to Zika virus in sera. Helen Branswell Senior Writer, Infectious Disease Helen covers issues broadly related to infectious diseases, including outbreaks, preparedness, research, and vaccine development. Men who have been infected with the Zika virus should not attempt to father a child for at least six months after their illness, and women who have been infected should wait at least eight weeks before trying to conceive, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control said Friday.The new recommendations reflect the agency’s concern that transmission of the virus could occur at or around the time of conception and affect the health of the fetus, according to Dr. Denise Jamieson, a member of the CDC’s Zika response team.Up until now, the CDC has focused its recommendations on preventing sexual transmission of Zika to women who are already pregnant.advertisement PAUSElast_img read more

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It’s time to recognize and prevent the tragedy of physician suicide

first_img Why are doctors plagued by depression and suicide? A crisis comes into focus [email protected] Stakeholders in American medicine are beginning to take notice of the emotional burden carried by medical students, residents, and veteran physicians. The new awareness stems, in part, from recent research in this area. (The PBS video “Struggling in Silence,” and the book “Physician Suicide Letters Answered,” by Dr. Pamela Wible, also helped bring the topic of physician suicide out in the open.) In addition, we are waking up to the fact that physician depression and burnout affects the quality of patients’ medical treatment.Much of the chronic distress that physicians experience is due to the culture of medical education and practice, the nature of our work, and stress imposed by the current health care environment. We are supposed to see more patients in less time and provide much more documentation. We work daily with human tragedy, illness, death, and loss. Many of us don’t take time off or debrief after adverse events or patient deaths. Instead, we move on to the next patient. It’s no wonder that more than half of physicians report being burned out.Even more worrisome, most physicians suffering from burnout or depression don’t seek treatment it. Although we should know better, physicians have longstanding internalized stigma about mental health treatment, believing that it represents weakness and vulnerability. Beginning in medical school, physicians in training tend to avoid mental health treatment because of fears about privacy, confidentiality, and how it might affect their future careers. Such attitudes persist, and even strengthen, through physicians’ careers.A three-pronged approach is needed to help physicians cope with burnout and depression and to prevent suicide. First, we must destigmatize seeking help. That can be done through better education and policies to change the culture of medicine so it is easier to ask for help. Second, we must provide physicians with prompt and targeted mental health assessments, support, and treatment when they’re feeling burned out or depressed. Informing the entire medical community about how to recognize the signs of toxic stress, depression, and burnout, and how to refer colleagues who might need help, can accomplish this. Third, we must work to prevent burnout and depression by removing barriers such as intensely busy work schedules, the cost of mental health treatment, and the difficulty of finding resources during nonwork hours, which are often few and far between. Related: Fighting the silent crisis of physician burnout About the Author Reprints Related: Medical educator Tags depressionmedical studentsphysiciansuicide At Northwestern University, a psychiatrist is available 24/7 to our physicians in training. They can call just to talk, to get started with treatment, or to request a referral. It’s 100 percent confidential and free. Our attending physicians can page or call me at any time, and our risk management team notifies me of any adverse events that affect a physician so I can reach out to him or her.Other institutions are also making huge strides in this area. Stanford University, for example, offers a range of supports and mental health services for its trainees and attending physicians. Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston operates a highly effective peer-support program.It’s high time for us to recognize that the physicians who spend so much of their lives caring for us are often suffering in silence, and effective interventions would be good medicine for all of us.Joan M. Anzia, MD, is a psychiatrist at Northwestern Medicine and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and medical education, and directs the residency program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. APstock Please share your experiences with depression, professional burnout, or suicide. Share your thoughts on depression in the medical profession ‘A painful facade’: My battle with depression as a medical resident May we contact you? If so, please leave your email address. Here’s a woeful secret that most medical students don’t learn until it’s too late: Physicians are more likely to become depressed, burn out, and die from suicide than their peers in the general population. Sometimes depression and suicide are the result of slow-building and long-standing issues. Other times they seem to come out of the blue.One of my roles at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is physician health liaison. One Friday afternoon, I got an urgent page from an anesthesiologist. When I called him back, he told me about a surgery that had gone terribly awry the week before — and how he was now thinking about suicide.He and a senior resident had administered anesthesia to a young man undergoing a relatively routine procedure. Their patient had been discharged home at the end of the day. The next morning, the young man was found dead in his bed.advertisement Other health care professional Please tell us a little about yourself.Medical student Related: Physician Other My colleague, who had built a stellar reputation over three decades of practice, was devastated. He had never before experienced anything quite like this patient’s death. He wasn’t able to sleep the night after getting the news, and hadn’t slept more than two or three hours a night since then. He had gone to work every day, but had trouble eating and concentrating on his clinical work. He reviewed the procedure over and over, trying to determine what, if anything, he could have done differently. He repeatedly remembered seeing the faces of his patient’s shocked and grieving parents.With his confidence profoundly shaken, he questioned whether he should stay in medicine. He felt isolated, despite some outreach from his peers and his chairman. Most of all, he felt deeply ashamed — of what, he wasn’t quite sure.advertisement What recommendations do you have for medical schools and hospitals to prevent depresison and suicide? Hospital administrator We arranged for him to take a week off, and he started therapy. With the aid of some medication to help him sleep, and being able to process his experience with me, he began feeling better and no longer had suicidal thoughts.Each year in the United States, 300 to 400 physicians die from suicide — that’s one a day, or the equivalent of two large medical school classes. Female physicians are 2.3 times more likely to die by suicide than those in the general population; male physicians, 1.4 times more likely. The terrible truth about physician suicide is that the great majority of these deaths are due to untreated depression, meaning they are preventable. Joan M. Anzia First OpinionIt’s time to recognize and prevent the tragedy of physician suicide By Joan M. Anzia July 21, 2016 Reprints Privacy Policy last_img read more

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5 haunted hospitals to get you in the Halloween spirit

first_imgHospitals5 haunted hospitals to get you in the Halloween spirit Patients at Waverly could expect treatments that varied from balloons implanted in their lungs to the removal of ribs and chest muscle to allow for lung expansion. When the treatments didn’t work, a handy 500-foot tunnel, or “body chute,” allowed personnel to discreetly send bodies down to be whisked away on waiting trains.Nowadays, the tunnel area is where the ghosts hang out, according to visitors to what is now a tourist attraction. They have also reported seeing the ghost of a nurse in room 502. According to one Yelp reviewer, “(W)e walk up by there and I do get some weird vibes. Hair stands up on my arms, I get flush feeling, sometimes a lil queasy. It’s awesome!”2. Eloise Complex, Westland, Mich.What started as a poorhouse and farm in 1839 gradually expanded to add a psychiatric hospital, a tuberculosis sanatorium, and a county hospital. Eloise was a virtual city unto itself, consisting of 76 buildings on a 900-acre property and housing about 10,000 people who were homeless, mentally ill, or in hospital care, along with 2,000 staff members. It also had many of its own support services, including a fire station, power plant, and cemetery with numbers on the stones instead of names.Modern day visitors have said they’ve encountered mysterious moans, screams, and a spectral woman in white at the asylum. An intrepid TV reporter who explored the facility returned with shots of glowing lights floating around her and the camera crew.Eloise went up for sale in 2015, but hasn’t found any willing buyers yet. But if you ask about hauntings, Mike Deighan, who is handling the sale, will tell you what he told STAT: “Can’t talk to you. Client’s rule.”3. Rolling Hills Asylum, Bethany N.Y.The Rolling Hills Asylum opened in 1827 as the Genessee County Poorhouse. According to an official newspaper announcement at the time, the place was open to “habitual drunkards, lunatics (one who by disease, grief, or accident lost the use of reason, or from old age, sickness, or weakness was so weak of mind as to be incapable of governing or managing their affairs), paupers (a person with no means of income), state paupers (one who is blind, lame, old, or disabled with no income source) or a vagrant.”Regardless of their reasons for being there, all residents were referred to as “inmates.” Perhaps that is what the ghosts are so ticked off about. The facility was also known to perform lobotomies and electric shock therapy.These days one of the most frequently seen ghosts is Roy, who died in 1942. Rumored to have been 7 feet tall in life, Roy reportedly spends his afterlife as an equally tall shadow, crying.Another visitor on a tour of the facility said she heard footsteps behind her, but flashlights showed nothing. Then she turned around again, snapping a picture of this.Northville Psychiatric Hospital Thomas Hawk4. Northville State Hospital, Northville, Mich.Opened in 1952, Northville was one of the more modern mental hospitals in the United States at the time. Northville was an early promoter of art and music for treating patients who could practice playing musical instruments or performing in plays, as well as study trades or work in hospital facilities. But as priorities shifted in the 1970s, Northville declined steadily, closing in the early 2000s.The abandoned hospital then became a subject of local lore. Sneaking into its abandoned buildings was a rite of passage for young people. One visitor even made a whimsical, tongue-in-cheek video, advertising Northville’s former glory and welcoming new patients. Another posted a series of photos from inside.Many of the trespassers who went to look for ghosts instead found hefty fines and community service hours. But some who avoided getting caught describe Northville’s tunnels, which ran under the hospital to provide heat and water through a system of pipes. In these tunnels, people have reported hearing footsteps and voices, along with the sensation of someone breathing on them.5. Pennhurst Asylum, Chester County, Pa.When it opened in 1908, Pennhurst took in mostly patients with physical and mental disabilities. But like other institutions at the time, Pennhurst also held “inmates,” which encompassed not just actual criminals but also orphans, immigrants, and pretty much anyone who had nowhere else to go. And also like similar places, Pennhurst was self-sufficient, with its own power plant and other amenities.By the 1960s the institution was overcrowded, underfunded, and falling apart. Television reporter Bill Baldini exposed abusive and unsafe conditions for children living at Pennhurst, and his story helped propel a movement to change the way people with disabilities are housed and treated. But still, the institution remained open until 1987.Pennhurst has since become a controversial tourist attraction. WeirdNJ, a ghost-hunter website, reports having picked up a voice saying “We’re upset” in its recordings within the hospital. At other points in its tape a female voice asks, “Why won’t you leave?” Other voices offer variations on that theme with  “Go away,” or “Why did you come here?” And in an ironic twist, there’s also a male voice that reportedly says, “I’m scared.” By Leah Samuel Oct. 31, 2016 Reprints In the decades or centuries they’ve existed, hospitals have had a long time to accrete stories — some of them the spooky kind.Haunted hospitals are often beautiful old buildings long past their useful days. And owing to long-held stigmas around mental illness, it should be no surprise that a lot of the places now deemed haunted once held people with little-understood brain disorders.Still, for many modern-day thrill-seekers, the hospitals make for enticing exploration, and many of them cater specifically to that market, offering ghost tours or welcoming in TV crews. advertisement And perhaps the disembodied voices and shadowy figures can be explained by science, but where’s the fun in that?1. Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Ky.An epidemic of tuberculosis was overtaxing medical facilities in Kentucky when the state’s Board of Tuberculosis Hospital decided to add on to the 40- to 50-bed sanatorium it had opened in 1910. By 1926, the sanatorium’s capacity had increased tenfold.advertisement Tags deathhospitalspsychiatric hospitals The Eloise Insane Asylum & Poorhouse, Farm & Hospital circa 1911. JH Cave/Creative Commonslast_img read more

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Andrew Wakefield appearance at Trump inaugural ball triggers social media backlash

first_img Tags policyVaccines What is it? [email protected] What’s included? Log In | Learn More By Casey Ross Jan. 21, 2017 Reprints About the Author Reprints Politics Controversial vaccine skeptic Andrew Wakefield attended one of President Trump’s inaugural balls late Friday, prompting a flood of mostly negative reaction on social media, with many commenters raising concerns that his discredited ideas will gain traction in the new administration.Wakefield, who helped launch the anti-vaccine movement with a fraudulent study linking vaccines to autism, posted a Periscope video from one of the balls, calling for an overhaul of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. GET STARTEDcenter_img Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. @caseymross Andrew Wakefield appearance at Trump inaugural ball triggers social media backlash Casey Ross Unlock this article — plus daily intelligence on Capitol Hill and the life sciences industry — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Cinema Libre Studio/Vimeo National Technology Correspondent Casey covers the use of artificial intelligence in medicine and its underlying questions of safety, fairness, and privacy. He is the co-author of the newsletter STAT Health Tech.last_img read more

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Health professionals must fight a Trump administration expansion of torture

first_imgFirst OpinionHealth professionals must fight a Trump administration expansion of torture Related: Over the last decade, professional organizations representing physicians, psychologists, and nurses have issued formal statements opposing their members’ participation in torture. Physicians and psychologists have gone further, stating that any participation by their members in national security interrogations violates the professions’ central ethical injunction to “do no harm.” However, despite credible complaints against specific health professionals, no professional associations or state licensing boards have launched investigations, much less taken disciplinary action.Given the threat that the new administration may expand Guantánamo and return to torture, health professional and behavioral science organizations should reiterate their ethical opposition and maintain the bright line separating their professionals from national security interrogations. Other professions should follow psychologists in forbidding their members from involvement in detention facilities that violate international law.But they must also go further. Professional organizations need to make it crystal clear that any credible complaint that a member has participated in detainee abuses or at detention sites deemed illegal under international law will be thoroughly investigated, and that discipline will be imposed if the complaint is substantiated. Not to act in the current climate would constitute a failure of the health professions carrying out their compact with society to protect and improve the health and welfare of all individuals, regardless of their legal status.At this dangerous time, society needs the voices of health professionals, and our actions, to halt the use of torture.Stephen Soldz, a clinical psychologist, is professor of psychology at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and director of its Social Justice and Human Rights Program. He is a former president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, a cofounder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, and an anti-torture advisor to Physicians for Human Rights. It was profoundly distressing to hear Donald Trump on the campaign trail vowing a return to abusing prisoners with “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” Those thoughts threaten to reverse the work that I and others have done over the last decade to end torture as an official US government policy and to prevent health professionals’ participation in detainee abuse.As a psychologist, I know the extreme damage that torture — the systematic infliction of severe pain and degradation — does to its victims and to its perpetrators. My colleagues and I helped transform the American Psychological Association’s policies, establishing a firm barrier between psychological practice and national security interrogations and forbidding psychologist involvement in detainee care at detention sites, like the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, which violates international law. As a result, a year ago the New York Times reported that Gen. John Kelly had ordered the removal of psychologists from all involvement with detainees at Guantánamo.Since Trump’s election, signals on torture have been mixed. His national security advisor, Mike Flynn, has at times endorsed the used of torturous “enhanced interrogation” techniques. His new CIA director, Mike Pompeo, has not ruled out changing US laws to allow waterboarding and other torture.advertisement Despite President Obama’s efforts to close Guantánamo, it remains open. The new administration is even considering expanding its population of detainees. And Wednesday the New York Times reports that the Trump administration is preparing an executive order that would make it possible for the CIA to operate so-called black site prisons overseas. The CIA had used such prisons to detain and torture terrorism suspects before they were shut down by former President Barack Obama.During the George W. Bush administration, the US adopted interrogation techniques that our State Department had traditionally denounced as torture when used by others. The most famous of these was waterboarding, in which drowning is induced and then interrupted, inducing panic and terror. While waterboarding got the most attention, many of the other techniques, including excruciating stress positions, exposure to extreme hot and cold, and prolonged sleep deprivation in painful positions for up to 180 hours, were also deemed torture and had been denounced by the State Department.advertisement Torture is so repugnant that virtually every country, even those that surreptitiously practice it, feel a need to disclaim it. The United Nations’s Convention Against Torture has been signed by 160 countries. For hundreds of years, opposition to the use of torture has been an important measure of a country’s evolution toward civilized values. The return to torture in the Bush administration set back that progress, not only in our country but also around the world, as other nations took it as a green light for barbarous practices.While ISIS would no doubt engage in barbarities regardless of US torture policy, it is no accident that the prisoners they execute in gruesome videos are cloaked in orange jumpsuits.The US is again in danger of becoming a country where torturous barbarity is publicly endorsed as official policy. To prevent this, it is vital that every institution of civil society speak out.Among these institutions, the health professions have great leverage. They must use it, and their constituencies must demand they use it. Wherever there is systematic torture, there are often health professionals, vetting prisoners for further abuse and treating them afterward to keep them alive, at least until the torturers are done with them.In the Bush era torture program, psychologists played special roles. In the CIA program, psychologists devised and administered the abuses, apparently even being present during waterboarding. At Guantánamo, which is run by the military, interrogators consulted with psychologists, reportedly using information in prisoners’ medical files to identify vulnerabilities that could be used to “break” them.This involvement of psychologists and other health professionals was intentional. In the Bush administration’s “torture memos,” the presence of health professionals during torture served as a legal “get out of jail free card” for the abusers. If a health professional assured interrogators that their techniques would not cause severe long-lasting harm — the Bush administration’s defining characteristic of torture — the interrogator was protected from legal responsibility for any harm that occurred.The Trump administration will also likely need health professionals as participants and as legal cover for any return to torture. We must deny them that protection. By Stephen Soldz Jan. 25, 2017 Reprints Tags legalmental healthphysicianscenter_img About the Author Reprints [email protected] Stephen Soldz Detention centers, bracing for flood of new arrivals, are ‘set up to fail’ immigrants with mental illness @ethicalpsycholo A prisoner at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. John Moore/Getty Imageslast_img read more

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Cancer researchers worry immunotherapy may hasten growth of tumors in some patients

first_img “There’s some phenomenon here that seems to be true, and I think we cannot just give this therapy randomly to the patient,” the author of the study, Dr. Shumei Kato, an oncologist at UC San Diego, said in an interview with STAT. “We need to select who’s going to be on it.”Kato’s article, on which the noted cancer researcher Dr. Razelle Kurzrock is named as a principal investigator, strains to make the point that the findings are more suggestive than conclusive, and that “further investigation is urgently needed.”But similar findings were published last year by cancer researchers at the Gustave Roussy Institute in France. These results were considered controversial by some, since they hadn’t been widely confirmed by other oncologists.Some remain unconvinced, including Dr. Vinay Prasad, assistant professor in the Division of Hematology Oncology at Oregon Health and Science University.“Tumor growth is not a precise measurement, and if you measure lots of people, some will have faster growth just because of the error in the test,” he said, adding that Kato’s research does not determine whether the growth happens “beyond the chance rate.”“At the end of the day, while I find this interesting, I think the main point is if you use drugs where” randomized control trials “show benefit, you will be good,” Prasad said. But immunotherapies are often approved based on early results, without randomized control trials. Given that, “don’t be surprised if you harm patients. True for all drugs. Even, almost surely, immunotherapy,” Prasad said.Dr. Antoni Ribas, who researches immunotherapies at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, said these reports should not change patients’ and doctors’ approach to immunotherapy.“The potential benefit of immunotherapy far outweighs the worry by miles at this time, so nobody should give up that option because we now have anecdotal evidence that they may have an adverse effect on the tumors,” he said. “I can always be corrected by data, but this is something to be explored further.”The observations are rippling through an oncology community that is trying to better understand the limitations of immunotherapy, a much-vaunted therapy that seeks to unleash the immune system against cancer. In the latest Clinical Cancer Research findings, those who experienced the hyperprogression of tumors, as the phenomenon is known, shared specific genetic characteristics. In all six patients with so-called amplifications in the MDM2 gene family, and two of 10 patients with alterations in the EGFR gene, the anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 immunotherapies quickly failed, and the patients’ cancers progressed rapidly.Aside from atezolizumab, immunotherapies in this class include avelumab (Bavencio); pembrolizumab (Keytruda); and nivolumab (Opdivo). The other major class of immunotherapies are known as anti-CTLA-4 treatments, such as ipilimumab (Yervoy), which target a different mechanism to unleash immune cells to fight tumors.Doctors who prescribe immunotherapies may be able to identify at-risk patients by submitting tumors for genetic testing, Kato and his coauthors suggested.The findings published last year by the Gustave Roussy team also appeared in Clinical Cancer Research. In that study, of 131 patients, 12 patients, or 9 percent, showed hyperprogressive growth after taking anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 immunotherapies.The lead author of that study, Stephane Champiat, acknowledged that the research so far raises more questions than it answers. Prior to the latest publication from Kato, Champiat said he was unsure if the phenomenon is related to the immunotherapy drugs.The new study, he said, “makes me more confident.”A group of killer T cells (green and red) surrounds a cancer cell (blue, center). NIHChampiat suggested factors that could be associated with the effect. In his study’s patients, for instance, those who were older than 65 showed hyperprogressive growth at twice the rate of younger patients.“Is it specific to older patients? I don’t think so. Do they have higher risk? Maybe,” Champiat said. “And I think it’s probably different from one tumor type to another tumor type.”Oncologists studying this phenomenon said it could complicate treatment strategies, because some patients who receive immunotherapies can exhibit what’s known as “pseudo-progression,” in which tumor scans reveal apparent growth. In reality, however, the scans are instead showing areas where the cancer is being attacked by armies of immune cells.Roughly 10 percent of melanoma patients on immunotherapies, for instance, experience this phenomenon. Leave this field empty if you’re human: Champiat said that he and his colleagues had mistakenly believed that patients whose cancer had entered a hyper-growth mode were merely experiencing pseudo-progression, so they continued the immunotherapy treatment.“We were probably deleterious because we maintained that,” he said.That’s also what Kato and his colleagues were hoping, as their patients’ cancer appeared to grow in their first weeks on immunotherapy.The findings, if they continue to receive validation across the oncology community, could offer more reason for caution among cancer doctors who have witnessed exceptionally strong results from immunotherapies.Jimmy Carter is perhaps the best-known immunotherapy success story.But most patients do not respond to the immunotherapy treatments, for reasons that remain largely unknown.In a study by Prasad and Dr. Nathan Gay, also of Oregon Health and Science University, nearly 70 percent of Americans die from forms of cancer for which there is no immunotherapy option, and for the rest who do qualify for immunotherapy, only 26 percent actually see their tumors shrink. Kato said the patient whose bladder cancer grew out of control after receiving atezolizumab was “very intelligent, very knowledgeable.”The man’s wife accompanied him to appointments, and together they decided to move ahead with the treatment. Within weeks he grew more fatigued and his sodium levels plummeted. When they scanned his tumors, they had grown by 258 percent.“He was angry,” Kato said. “At me, at first, and to the team in general.”“It was very, very hard,” he said. “We get very encouraged by good outcomes, and we struggle to try to make the same result, but unfortunately it’s not always the case.” Related: Please enter a valid email address. “The potential benefit of immunotherapy far outweighs the worry by miles at this time, so nobody should give up that option.” For doctors at the University of California, San Diego, it was seemingly a no-lose proposition: A 73-year-old patient’s bladder cancer was slowly progressing but he was generally stable and strong.He seemed like the ideal candidate for an immunotherapy drug, atezolizumab, or Tecentriq, that had just been approved to treat bladder cancer patients.Doctors started the patient on the drug in June. It was a spectacular failure: Within six weeks, he was removed from the drug, and he died two months later.advertisement Privacy Policy Related: For cancer patients, newest treatments force the ultimate decision, with no room for error Few people actually benefit from ‘breakthrough’ cancer immunotherapy Newsletters Sign up for Cancer Briefing A weekly look at the latest in cancer research, treatment, and patient care. Tags cancerresearch Six saw their tumors enter a hyperactive phase, where the tumors grew by between 53 percent and 258 percent. Related: r. Antoni Ribas, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Dan Kitwood/Getty Images/Cancer Research UK And while immunotherapies typically include less intrusive side effects than chemotherapy, those side effects, when they happen, can be life-threatening.Researchers have reported cases in which immunotherapies attacked vital organs, including the colon, liver, lungs, kidney, and pancreas, with some patients experiencing acute, rapid-onset diabetes after receiving the treatments.But in those cases, the treatments were at least attacking the cancer. Such reports didn’t raise the specter of these treatments possibly working on the cancer’s behalf to shift it into overdrive.“I’m a little bit nervous, to be honest with you, reporting this,” Kato said.Dr. Jennifer S. Temel, clinical director of thoracic oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, alluded to the emerging research on immunotherapy in a presentation to palliative care and hospice clinicians in February.“I’m treating 30 patients with immunotherapy, and when it works, it is so awesome,” she said. But the new data showing the drugs might accelerate cancer, she said, has introduced a new set of worries for patients and doctors.“How are we doing to deal with that?” she asked. “We just don’t know yet. But I am scared.”“The challenge for oncologists,” Temel added in an email Monday, “is to balance our excitement and enthusiasm with this reality and be sure to communicate honestly and effectively with our patients.” In a troubling phenomenon that researchers have observed in a number of cases recently, the treatment appeared not only to fail to thwart the man’s cancer, but to unleash its full fury. It seemed to make the tumor grow faster.The patient’s case was one of a handful described last week in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. Of the 155 cases studied, eight patients who had been fairly stable before immunotherapy treatment declined rapidly, failing the therapy within two months.advertisement In the LabCancer researchers worry immunotherapy may hasten growth of tumors in some patients Beware the hype: Top scientists cautious about fighting cancer with immunotherapy By Bob Tedeschi April 3, 2017 Reprintslast_img read more

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Merck: Keytruda trial comes up short in head and neck cancer, but FDA approval stays

first_img @adamfeuerstein Mel Evans/AP About the Author Reprints Adam’s Take Merck’s checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda doesn’t help patients with advanced head and neck cancer live longer, but the failed phase 3 clinical trial, announced Monday night, won’t compel the FDA to rescind the drug’s conditional approval, the company said.And with that, the pile of evidence pointing towards FDA’s extreme flexibility when it comes to easy drug approvals grows even larger. [email protected] Log In | Learn More What is it? By Adam Feuerstein July 24, 2017 Reprints Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.center_img Adam Feuerstein STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. GET STARTED What’s included? Senior Writer, Biotech Adam is STAT’s national biotech columnist, reporting on the intersection of biotech and Wall Street. He’s also a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. Tags biotechcancerpolicy Merck: Keytruda trial comes up short in head and neck cancer, but FDA approval stays Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTEDlast_img read more

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Amicus presents positive data on Pompe drug, but could wait years for approval

first_img Amicus CEO John Crowley and daughter Megan, who has Pompe disease. Crowley family Unlock this article — plus daily coverage and analysis of the biotech sector — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED Biotech Senior Writer, Medicine, Editorial Director of Events Matthew covers medical innovation — both its promise and its perils. STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. What is it? About the Author Reprints Amicus presents positive data on Pompe drug, but could wait years for approval GET STARTED What’s included?center_img Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Matthew Herper By Matthew Herper Feb. 5, 2019 Reprints Amicus Therapeutics (FOLD) said Tuesday that its drug for Pompe disease appeared to benefit patients with the disease in a small trial, a modest but noteworthy milestone ahead of what will be a pivotal trial.“This is an important next step on what’s almost a 20-year journey,” said Amicus CEO John Crowley. @matthewherper Log In | Learn More [email protected] Tags biotechnologyrare diseaseSTAT+last_img read more

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Up and down the ladder: The latest comings and goings

first_img Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. By Ed Silverman March 8, 2019 Reprints Alex Hogan/STAT What is it? [email protected] Tags jobspharmaceuticalsSTAT+ Log In | Learn More What’s included? Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry.center_img Ed Silverman @Pharmalot About the Author Reprints Pharmalot STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Hired someone new and exciting? Promoting a rising star? Finally solved that hard-to-fill spot? Share the news with us, and we’ll share it with others. That’s right. Send us your changes, and we’ll find a home for them. Don’t be shy. Everyone wants to know who is coming and going.And here is our regular feature in which we highlight a different person each week. This time around, we note that Glenmark Pharmaceuticals (GLENMARK) hired Dr. Alessandro Riva as chief executive officer. Previously, he worked at Gilead Sciences (GILD) as executive vice president, oncology therapeutics and cell therapy; Up and down the ladder: The latest comings and goings GET STARTEDlast_img read more

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GlaxoSmithKline and Vir aim to take on Covid-19 with antibodies and CRISPR

first_img Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED [email protected] The drug giant GlaxoSmithKline said Monday it will collaborate with Vir Biotechnology on experimental treatments and potentially, vaccines against the novel coronavirus.As part of the deal, GlaxoSmithKline will invest $250 million in the San Francisco startup at a 10% premium to the company’s closing share price on March 27. Log In | Learn More About the Author Reprints GlaxoSmithKline and Vir aim to take on Covid-19 with antibodies and CRISPR Tags Coronavirusdrug development What’s included? What is it? Biotech center_img Matthew Herper @matthewherper STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Senior Writer, Medicine, Editorial Director of Events Matthew covers medical innovation — both its promise and its perils. Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. By Matthew Herper April 6, 2020 Reprints GET STARTED Sang Tan/APlast_img read more