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Not your grandma’s pills: 7 intriguing new ways to deliver drugs

first_img Alex Hogan/STAT The field, in short, seems ripe for revolution. But entrepreneurs entering the market also face risks. Drug-delivery systems are quicker to bring to market than traditional pharmaceuticals — but don’t make as much money. Valuations stay modest. Very few drug-delivery companies, among them BIND Therapeutics and Cerulean Pharma, have gone public.And new drug-delivery technologies could pose risks to patients. Nanomaterials have been heralded for their potential in delivering drugs to spinal cord injuries and tumors, but a review published this year called for further investigation of the material’s potential toxic effects. And while 3-D printing has sparked excitement about the potential for patients to get their pills in the shape that works best for them, a study published last year found that changes in the size and shape of pills can lead to patients skipping doses. Related: Precision medicine, linked to DNA, still too often misses Device uses ultrasound to deliver drugs In the LabNot your grandma’s pills: 7 intriguing new ways to deliver drugs Related: Implanted devicesThe problem: Pills can be forgotten, misplaced, stolen, sold on the black market, or gobbled up by kids.Potential solution: A device implanted under the skin, tested in patients with opioid addiction, dispenses medication for six months.Who’s working on it: Titan Pharmaceuticals, a San Francisco specialty pharma companyAlex Hogan/STATRemote-controlled deliveryThe problem: Drugs for neurological disorders often have terrible side effects.Potential solution: A remote-controlled device, tested in mice, would be implanted in the brain to precisely deliver drugs to specific regions of the brain that need it, bypassing regions that don’t.Who’s working on it: Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis; University of Colorado, Boulder; and University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignAlex Hogan/STATMicroneedle patchThe problem: Medical professionals aren’t always around.Potential solution: An experimental microneedle patch, tested in patients, would deliver a flu vaccine without the need for needles or trained technicians.Who’s working on it: Researchers at Osaka University in JapanAlex Hogan/STATCell squeezingThe problem: It can be hard to get drugs into a cell.Potential solution: An experimental device, tested in mice, squeezes cells like a sponge, opening up tiny pores in the cell’s exterior membrane through which foreign molecules can flow.Who’s working on it: SQZ Biotech, a Boston startupAlex Hogan/STATTumor implantThe problem: Testing one oncology drug at a time on a tumor takes too long and can have toxic effects.Potential solution: A tiny device, being tested in breast cancer patients, could be implanted into a tumor to dispense small doses of up to 30 different drugs at a time.Who’s working on it: Researchers at MITAlex Hogan/STATMany of the new technologies are still being fine-tuned in academic labs or tested in animals. But money is flowing in, particularly for concepts that are closer to market. Last year, investment in drug-delivery companies exceeded $250 million, according to the financial information firm Dow Jones. And the worldwide market for drug-delivery technologies is expected to exceed $150 billion this year, according to the London research firm Visiongain. Big Pharma is taking notice, too: Roche this week partnered with startup SQZ Biotech to find new uses for technology the startup developed to push drugs into cells. Teva Pharmaceuticals earlier this year inked its own partnership with drug delivery company Microchips Biotech. And Allergan last year acquired the drug-delivery technology of another startup, TARIS Biomedical.The reason for all this interest? There’s a lot that isn’t working with today’s drug-delivery systems.Injections can be painful and inconvenient. Steroids and chemotherapy can have side effects. Daily pills are easily abused or difficult to remember to take, particularly for patients with cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or schizophrenia.And then there’s the issue of targeting. Sometimes drugs can’t penetrate the thick membranes of the organs they’re trying to reach; other times they act on the wrong places, needlessly impairing cognition or causing liver or kidney damage. An expanding ringThe problem: Stomach drugs that are supposed to be long-acting get flushed out too quickly.Potential solution: A swallowable pill, tested in pigs, unfolds into a ring when it reaches the stomach, allowing it to dispense medication for longer than a week.Who’s working on it: Lyndra, a Cambridge biotech startupAlex Hogan/STAT3-D printingThe problem: Some patients need drugs dispensed in different amounts, at different speeds, or to different regions.Potential solution: A 3-D printing technology, tested in vitro, could customize dosages with unusually shaped pills or designs that pack multiple drugs into one pill.Who’s working on it: Researchers at University College London’s School of Pharmacyadvertisement By Rebecca Robbins Dec. 8, 2015 Reprints The quest to develop the next miracle pill commands the biggest bucks and the most attention in biotech. But out of the spotlight, there’s growing interest in finding better ways to deliver existing drugs into the body.Academic researchers and startups are working on new technologies that sound fantastical: Microbubbles. Pills shaped like donuts and pyramids. Devices that could “turn on” drugs, like a TV remote, by flashing beams of light. Tiny chips that might be able to stay in your body for as long as 16 years.We’ve rounded up some of the most intriguing ideas in the field of drug delivery. Here’s just a sampling of those efforts:advertisement Tags biotechdrug deliverydrugslast_img read more

Third case of polio crops up in Nigeria as insurgency hampers fight against the disease

first_img Polio-free world? Not if scientists refuse to destroy their research specimens Tags global healthpolioWHO HealthThird case of polio crops up in Nigeria as insurgency hampers fight against the disease The campaign is to spread across the country, with a plan to reach 25 million children before the end of the year.But the U.N. Children’s Fund has warned that about 1 million children are in areas too dangerous to access.Nigeria’s military has helped with the vaccination drive, which included logistics and other aid from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the United Nations and Britain’s Save the Children as well as government health workers. Military helicopters flew vaccines into places too dangerous to reach by road, and truckloads of troops and armored cars escorted vaccinators elsewhere.Muhammad said they were using “hit and run” tactics to reach kids in areas where Boko Haram is present. By Associated Press Sept. 5, 2016 Reprints A polio milestone: One strain left in the crosshairs Nigeria’s military has said it has the insurgents “on the run” and needs only to clear them out of areas bordering Cameroon, Chad and Niger as well as their northeastern stronghold in the Sambisa Forest. But a map used in the vaccination campaign shows almost all of Borno state is only “partially accessible,” with four northern areas “inaccessible” and only the extreme south “accessible.”There has been no major attack in months by Boko Haram, which is in the throes of a leadership struggle. Privacy Policy Related: A child in Nigeria is vaccinated against polio. Sunday Alamba/APcenter_img Related: Newsletters Sign up for Weekend Reads Our top picks for great reads, delivered to your inbox each weekend. About the Author Reprints Please enter a valid email address. LAGOS, Nigeria — The World Health Organization has confirmed a third case of polio in Nigeria, Rotary Club said Monday: a crippled toddler found in an area newly liberated from Boko Haram Islamic extremists.The West African nation that once was a global epicenter of the wild polio virus had been declared polio-free last year, along with the African continent. But two cases were discovered last month among refugees from areas recently won back by Nigeria’s military from Boko Haram.More cases are expected to be discovered in these areas. It is an indicator that Nigeria’s war on polio cannot be won until it overcomes the insurgency by extremists who are violently opposed to Western medicine.advertisement Rotary Club’s field coordinator, Aminu Muhammad, told The Associated Press the new case was found in Monguno local government area. The others were further south in Jere and Gwoza. All are in northern Borno state.Rotary is part of a new emergency immunization drive that vaccinated more than 1.5 million children last week in Borno, where WHO has said the virus has been circulating undetected for five years and where Boko Haram began its Islamic uprising in 2009.advertisement Associated Press Leave this field empty if you’re human: last_img read more

5 bizarre accidents that people survived against all odds

first_imgQuick Take5 bizarre accidents that people survived against all odds He felt his skin rip and heard his arm snap as the mechanism yanked him through a 5-inch opening, dragging him along the conveyor. The machine spat him out, screaming, from the other end with a broken back, pelvis, hips, and ribs, and a ruptured stomach and bowel. Six operations and many metal pins later, the 25-year-old Lowe was back to work at the factory, hoping to get off the factory floor by training as a supervisor.Falling onto an air hoseAllowing air into the body any way but through respiratory system can kill. A pocket of air, or embolus, can enter the bloodstream and travel quickly to the brain, quickly causing death. But factory worker Steven McCormack of New Zealand survived an accident in 2011 in which he fell, butt first, onto the nozzle of an air hose.He screamed as his skin separated from underlying fat and muscle while high-pressure air filled much of the available space, expanding his body to nearly twice its normal size. At the hospital, the inflated man found that doctors couldn’t do much, so they waited while he deflated — loudly.McCormack went home with medications and an unbelievable story to tell. How did he survive? Nozzle placement — it punctured his buttock but didn’t hit any major blood vessels. Related: Related: 7 of the most gruesome medical devices in history Caught in an up-up-updraftWhen 35-year-old paraglider Ewa Wisnierska went for a practice glide in 2007 as storm clouds gathered above her, the result was an unscheduled flight across the Australian countryside in little more than the clothes she was wearing.High winds whisked her up at 70 feet per second to just over 30,000 feet above ground and pushed her, frozen and bruised by hail reportedly the size of tennis balls, some 40 miles from where she started. Wisnierska fell unconscious during the flight, but came to after a while and steered herself out of the sky and onto a farm. Her main injury? Frostbite.Dropped out of the skyWe humans have an uneasy relationship with gravity. We count on and appreciate it for helping us stay grounded, and for keeping objects where we left them. But we also have to be concerned about falling, whether off a chair, down the stairs, or, in the case of New Zealander Michael Holmes, from the sky.After leaping from a plane in 2009, the skydiving instructor ended up with both his main parachute and the backup chute disabled. Falling at a reported rate of 70 miles per hour, he should have died from internal injuries. Instead, the lucky leaper landed on a blackberry bush, sustaining only a broken ankle and a collapsed lung. Forced through a small hole Moving at high speed through a hole that’s far smaller than your body can result in stripped skin, dislocated joints, broken bones, and crushed or punctured organs. That’s what happened to welder Matthew Lowe in 2008, when his overalls got caught in a factory machine that transports metal parts.advertisement As the 25-year-old turned to greet coworkers, an explosion in the hole shot the heavy iron rod through Gage’s jaw, brain, and skull, like this. Like a javelin, the rod landed several yards away. Unlike a javelin, it was carrying a bit of brain with it. Gage lived for another 12 years, saddled with a drooping eyelid, seizures, and dramatic emotional and cognitive problems. He remains a subject of medical fascination to this day. X-Men, step aside: Check out real-life mutants with these 5 amazing superpowers Phineas Gage, who in 1848 was impaled through the skull by a 13-pound metal rod and survived. Gage family photo collection/Creative Commons Sometimes against all odds and in defiance of science, people manage to withstand experiences that really should have killed them.Take these five stories, for example, of people getting impaled, crushed, and literally blown up — and surviving to tell the tale.A stick through the brainGetting impaled through the brain is usually deadly because the brain controls all sorts of things we don’t think about — breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure, for one. Yet in 1848, railroad worker Phineas Gage survived getting impaled by a 3.5-foot, 13-pound rod he was using to pack a hole with explosives.advertisement By Leah Samuel Sept. 30, 2016 Reprints Tags accidentsbrainlast_img read more

Medicaid cuts, more uninsured: 3 takeaways from new estimates of the GOP’s health plan

first_img What’s included? Tags Medicaidpolicywomen’s health Politics Lev Facher Log In | Learn More About the Authors Reprints By Dylan Scott and Lev Facher March 13, 2017 Reprints What is it? 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. 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.center_img [email protected] WASHINGTON — The official scorekeepers in Washington have weighed in on the GOP’s health care plan and put the stakes of the debate in full view: Millions more Americans would be uninsured if the legislation were approved, and federal spending on Medicaid, the largest health insurance program in the nation, would be dramatically reduced.Republicans have preemptively argued that the Congressional Budget Office, which released its analysis of the American Health Care Act on Monday, sometimes gets its estimates wrong. But for now, the CBO’s report is the official projection of what would happen under President Trump and the GOP’s plan. Medicaid cuts, more uninsured: 3 takeaways from new estimates of the GOP’s health plan Unlock this article — plus daily intelligence on Capitol Hill and the life sciences industry — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED Washington Correspondent Lev Facher covers the politics of health and life sciences. A clinician at Planned Parenthood, which would see its funding cut under the GOP health care bill. LAURA SEGALL/AFP/Getty Images GET STARTED @levfacher last_img read more

Q&A: At GE Healthcare, why making biologics can be like craft brewing

first_img @kweintraub Unlock this article — plus daily coverage and analysis of the biotech sector — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED Karen Weintraub is an independenthealth/sciencejournalist, journalism teacher, and bookauthor. John Flannery, CEO of GE Healthcare. GE Healthcare About the Author Reprints John Flannery, CEO of GE Healthcare, has worked for General Electric for 30 years, but moved into health care only two-and-a-half years ago. He has had significant success since then, turning a division that was large but stagnant into an $18 billion money-maker. He talked recently with STAT about building a biopark, why applying data analytics to production is like craft brewing, and how his business is expanding into the developing world. This interview has been edited and condensed.You’ve said that about half your business involves selling equipment and services to the biological drug production industry. What does that entail?Seven or eight of the top 10 drugs now are biologic drugs. We have a role in supporting all of those drugs. We work closely with the drug companies and pharma companies as they’re researching and developing these drugs. The production process is really an integral part of the final approval of the drug itself, so we stay with these companies for years after these drugs come to market. It’s a good growth business for us. Log In | Learn More 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. 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. Biotech What is it? By Karen Weintraub April 14, 2017 Reprints What’s included? Q&A: At GE Healthcare, why making biologics can be like craft brewing Karen Weintraub Tags biotechnologydrug developmentSTAT+last_img read more

Thrown out, but still usable: the myth of drug expiration dates

first_img [email protected] Thrown out, but still usable: the myth of drug expiration dates What is it? Unlock this article — and get additional analysis of the technologies disrupting health care — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED Health By Marshall Allen — ProPublica July 19, 2017 Reprints @marshall_allen What’s included? 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. Lee Cantrell, an associate professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, with a collection of vintage expired medications. Sandy Huffaker for ProPublica 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. About the Author Reprints Marshall Allen — ProPublica Log In | Learn More The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the 1969 moon landing. Most were 30 to 40 years past their expiration dates — possibly toxic, probably worthless.But to Lee Cantrell, who helps run the California Poison Control System, the cache was an opportunity to answer an enduring question about the actual shelf life of drugs: Could these drugs from the bell-bottom era still be potent? Tags patientspharmaceuticalspolicylast_img read more

Pharmalittle: Teva will have to pay big bucks for next CEO; generic prices are falling quickly

first_img 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. Ed Silverman Log In | Learn More What’s included? Hello, everyone, and welcome to another working week. We hope the weekend respite was refreshing and invigorating, because that all-too-familiar routine of deadlines, meetings, and the like has returned. Never mind that this is midsummer — the world continues to spin. And this means the time has come to get cracking. And so, we bring you the usual menu of tidbits to help you along. Hope you have a smashing day and do keep in touch. We enjoy your tips and stories …Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) may have to bust its piggy bank to lure candidates to help reverse its sagging fortunes, The Wall Street Journal says. The world’s biggest generic drug maker lost a quarter of its market value last Thursday after missing earnings, cutting profit guidance, and slashing its dividend thanks to pricing pressures. Erez Vigodman, the previous chief executive who left in February, received $5.3 million in salary and equity shares last year. By Ed Silverman Aug. 7, 2017 Reprints What is it? 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. Alex Hogan/STAT Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry.center_img Pharmalittle: Teva will have to pay big bucks for next CEO; generic prices are falling quickly @Pharmalot Pharmalot [email protected] Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED About the Author Reprints GET STARTED Tags drug pricingpharmaceuticalsSTAT+last_img read more

Pharmalittle: Pharma battles U.K. over pricing limits; FDA rejects J&J arthritis drug

first_imgPharmalot Pharmalittle: Pharma battles U.K. over pricing limits; FDA rejects J&J arthritis drug Ed Silverman By Ed Silverman Sept. 25, 2017 Reprints Alex Hogan/STAT Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. We hope the weekend respite was invigorating and refreshing, especially for those of you who, like us, took an extended break to connect with ancient observances. Now, of course, the time has come to resume the usual routine of meetings, deadlines and the like. So tap your inner zen, grab a cup of stimulation, and dive into the tidbits below. Have a smashing day and, as always, do stay in touch …The credibility of an expert witness for the U.K. pharmaceuticals industry was shot down by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in a legal row over pricing, The Times reports. The cost watchdog dismissed evidence from drug makers as “plainly not independent.” Through their trade group, the companies are seeking an unprecedented judicial review in an attempt to stop NICE from imposing fresh limits on prices for new drugs and reversing changes to the cost assessment of treatments for rare diseases. Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. About the Author Reprints Log In | Learn More Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTEDcenter_img [email protected] @Pharmalot Tags drug pricesdrug pricingpharmaceuticalspharmalittleSTAT+ GET STARTED What’s included? 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. 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?last_img read more

Trump administration strikes policy that supporters say helped lower drug prices

first_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. Trump administration strikes policy that supporters say helped lower drug prices APStock What’s included? About the Author Reprints Log In | Learn More [email protected] Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED Tags policy Erin Mershoncenter_img Politics GET STARTED What is it? WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday boldly reversed an Obama-era policy that supporters said had helped lower prices for some costly drugs.The policy centers on so-called biosimilar drugs, which are highly similar versions of biologic drugs manufactured in living cells or microorganisms. The Obama administration designed certain Medicare payments to encourage more price competition among those biosimilar drugs. Trump’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will reverse that policy beginning Jan. 1, 2018. @eemershon By Erin Mershon Nov. 2, 2017 Reprints Senior News Editor 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.last_img read more

Drug makers dodged $1.3 billion in payments to Medicaid, report finds

first_img About the Author Reprints Politics GET STARTED [email protected] John Moore/Getty Images 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. Log In | Learn More What is it? Drug makers dodged $1.3 billion in payments to Medicaid, report finds @eemershon center_img WASHINGTON — Drug makers dodged more than $1.3 billion in Medicaid drug rebates between 2012 and 2016 because they inappropriately or mistakenly miscategorized brand-name products as generics, which qualify for lower rebates.Some $1.17 billion of that figure was associated with miscategorizations for just two drugs, according to a new report from the Health and Human Services Department’s independent inspector general, which did not name the products or their manufacturers. Had the 10 most expensive of the drugs been classified appropriately, state Medicaid programs would have saved that $1.3 billion figure, the report said. Instead, they collected just $199 million for those drug rebates. Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED Erin Mershon What’s included? Senior News Editor 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. By Erin Mershon Dec. 20, 2017 Reprints Tags drug pricingpolicySTAT+last_img read more