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Archive for the ‘FDA’ Category


Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019: Genome Editing and Regulatory Harmonization: Progress and Challenges

Reporter: Stephen J Williams, PhD @StephenJWillia2

 

Genome editing offers the potential of new and effective treatments for genetic diseases. As companies work to develop these treatments, regulators are focused on ensuring that any such products meet applicable safety and efficacy requirements. This panel will discuss how European Union and United States regulators are approaching therapeutic use of genome editing, issues in harmonization between these two – and other – jurisdictions, challenges faced by industry as regulatory positions evolve, and steps that organizations and companies can take to facilitate approval and continued efforts at harmonization.

 

CBER:  because of the nature of these gene therapies, which are mainly orphan, there is expedited review.  Since they started this division in 2015, they have received over 1500 applications.

Spark: Most of the issues were issues with the primary disease not the gene therapy so they had to make new endpoint tests so had talks with FDA before they entered phase III.   There has been great collaboration with FDA,  now they partnered with Novartis to get approval outside US.  You should be willing to partner with EU pharmas to expedite the regulatory process outside US.  In China the process is new and Brazil is behind on their gene therapy guidance.  However there is the new issue of repeat testing of your manufacturing process, as manufacturing of gene therapies had been small scale before. However he notes that problems with expedited review is tough because you don’t have alot of time to get data together.  They were lucky that they had already done a randomized trial.

Sidley Austin:  EU regulatory you make application with advance therapy you don’t have a national option, the regulation body assesses a committee to see if has applicability. Then it goes to a safety committee.  EU has been quicker to approve these advance therapies. Twenty five percent of their applications are gene therapies.  Companies having issues with manufacturing.  There can be issues when the final application is formalized after discussions as problems may arise between discussions, preliminary applications, and final applications.

Sarepta: They have a robust gene therapy program.  Their lead is a therapy for DMD (Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy) where affected males die by 25. Japan and EU have different regulatory applications and although they are similar and data can be transferred there is more paperwork required by EU.  The US uses an IND for application. Global feedback is very challenging, they have had multiple meetings around the world and takes a long time preparing a briefing package….. putting a strain on the small biotechs.  No company wants to be either just EU centric or US centric they just want to get out to market as fast as possible.

 

Please follow LIVE on TWITTER using the following @ handles and # hashtags:

@Handles

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@BIOConvention

# Hashtags

#BIO2019 (official meeting hashtag)

 

 

 

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Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019: Chat with @FDA Commissioner, & Challenges in Biotech & Gene Therapy June 4 Philadelphia

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD @StephenJWillia2

 

  • taking patient concerns and voices from anecdotal to data driven system
  • talked about patient accrual hearing patient voice not only in ease of access but reporting toxicities
  • at FDA he wants to remove barriers to trial access and accrual; also talk earlier to co’s on how they should conduct a trial

Digital tech

  • software as medical device
  • regulatory path is mixed like next gen sequencing
  • wearables are concern for FDA (they need to recruit scientists who know this tech

Opioids

  • must address the crisis but in a way that does not harm cancer pain patients
  • smaller pain packs “blister packs” would be good idea

Clinical trial modernization

  • for Alzheimers disease problem is science
  • for diabetes problem is regulatory
  • different diseases calls for different trial design
  • have regulatory problems with rare diseases as can’t form control or placebo group, inhumane. for example ras tumors trials for MEK inhibitors were narrowly focused on certain ras mutants
Realizing the Promise of Gene Therapies for Patients Around the World

103ABC, Level 100

Speakers
Lots of promise, timeline is progressing faster but we need more education on use of the gene therapy
Regulatory issues: Cell and directly delivered gene based therapies have been now approved. Some challenges will be the ultrarare disease trials and how we address manufacturing issues.  Manufacturing is a big issue at CBER and scalability.  If we want to have global impact of these products we need to address the manufacturing issues
 of scalability.
Pfizer – clinical grade and scale is important.
Aventis – he knew manufacturing of biologics however gene therapy manufacturing has its separate issues and is more complicated especially for regulatory purposes for clinical grade as well as scalability.  Strategic decision: focusing on the QC on manufacturing was so important.  Had a major issue in manufacturing had to shut down and redesign the system.
Albert:  Manufacturing is the most important topic even to the investors.  Investors were really conservative especially seeing early problems but when academic centers figured out good efficacy then they investors felt better and market has exploded.  Now you can see investment into preclinical and startups but still want mature companies to focus on manufacturing.  About $10 billion investment in last 4 years.

How Early is Too Early? Valuing and De-Risking Preclinical Opportunities

109AB, Level 100

Speakers
Valuing early-stage opportunities is challenging. Modeling will often provide a false sense of accuracy but relying on comparable transactions is more art than science. With a long lead time to launch, even the most robust estimates can ultimately prove inaccurate. This interactive panel will feature venture capital investors and senior pharma and biotech executives who lead early-stage transactions as they discuss their approaches to valuing opportunities, and offer key learnings from both successful and not-so-successful experiences.
Dr. Schoenbeck, Pfizer:
  • global network of liaisons who are a dedicated team to research potential global startup partners or investments.  Pfizer has a separate team to evaluate academic laboratories.  In Most cases Pfizer does not initiate contact.  It is important to initiate the first discussion with them in order to get noticed.  Could be just a short chat or discussion on what their needs are for their portfolio.

Question: How early is too early?

Luc Marengere, TVM:  His company has early stage focus, on 1st in class molecules.  The sweet spot for their investment is a candidate selected compound, which should be 12-18 months from IND.  They will want to bring to phase II in less than 4 years for $15-17 million.  Their development model is bad for academic labs.  During this process free to talk to other partners.

Dr. Chaudhary, Biogen:  Never too early to initiate a conversation and sometimes that conversation has lasted 3+ years before a decision.  They like build to buy models, will do convertible note deals, candidate compound selection should be entering in GLP/Tox phase (sweet spot)

Merck: have MRL Venture Fund for pre series A funding.  Also reiterated it is never too early to have that initial discussion.  It will not put you in a throw away bin.  They will have suggestions and never like to throw out good ideas.

Michael Hostetler: Set expectations carefully ; data should be validated by a CRO.  If have a platform, they will look at the team first to see if strong then will look at the platform to see how robust it is.

All noted that you should be completely honest at this phase.  Do not overstate your results or data or overhype your compound(s).  Show them everything and don’t have a bias toward compounds you think are the best in your portfolio.  Sometimes the least developed are the ones they are interested in.  Also one firm may reject you however you may fit in others portfolios better so have a broad range of conversations with multiple players.

 

 

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Real Time Coverage of BIO 2019 International Convention, June 3-6, 2019 Philadelphia Convention Center, Philadelphia PA

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD @StephenJWillia2

Please follow LIVE on TWITTER using the following @ handles and # hashtags:

@Handles

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@BIOConvention

# Hashtags

#BIO2019 (official meeting hashtag)

Please check daily on this OPEN ACCESS JOURNAL for updates on one of the most important BIO Conferences of the year for meeting notes, posts, as well as occasional PODCASTS.

 

The BIO International Convention is the largest global event for the biotechnology industry and attracts the biggest names in biotech, offers key networking and partnering opportunities, and provides insights and inspiration on the major trends affecting the industry. The event features keynotes and sessions from key policymakers, scientists, CEOs, and celebrities.  The Convention also features the BIO Business Forum (One-on-One Partnering), hundreds of sessions covering biotech trends, policy issues and technological innovations, and the world’s largest biotechnology exhibition – the BIO Exhibition.

The BIO International Convention is hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

 

Keynote Speakers INCLUDE:

Fireside Chat with Margaret (Peggy) Hamburg, MD, Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Medicine; Chairman of the Board, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Tuesday Keynote: Siddhartha Mukherjee (Author of the bestsellers Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer and  The Gene: An Intimate History)

Fireside Chat with Jeffrey Solomon, Chief Executive Officer, COWEN

Fireside Chat with Christi Shaw, Senior Vice President and President, Lilly BIO-Medicines, Eli Lilly and Company

Wednesday Keynote: Jamie Dimon (Chairman JP Morgan Chase)

Fireside Chat with Kenneth C. Frazier, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Merck & Co., Inc.

Fireside Chat: Understanding the Voices of Patients: Unique Perspectives on Healthcare

Fireside Chat: FDA Town Hall

 

ALSO SUPERSESSIONS including:

Super Session: What’s Next: The Landscape of Innovation in 2019 and Beyond

Super Session: Falling in Love with Science: Championing Science for Everyone, Everywhere

Super Session: Digital Health in Practice: A Conversation with Ameet Nathawani, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Medical Falling in Love with Science: Championing Science for Everyone, Everywhere

Super Session: Realizing the Promise of Gene Therapies for Patients Around the World

Super Session: Biotech’s Contribution to Innovation: Current and Future Drivers of Success

Super Session: The Art & Science of R&D Innovation and Productivity

Super Session: Dealmaker’s Intentions: 2019 Market Outlook

Super Session: The State of the Vaccine Industry: Stimulating Sustainable Growth

 

See here for full AGENDA

Link for Registration: https://convention.bio.org/register/

The BIO International Convention is literally where hundreds of deals and partnerships have been made over the years.

 

BIO performs many services for members, but none of them are more visible than the BIO International Convention. The BIO International Convention helps BIO fulfill its mission to help grow the global biotech industry. Profits from the BIO International Convention are returned to the biotechnology industry by supporting BIO programs and initiatives. BIO works throughout the year to create a policy environment that enables the industry to continue to fulfill its vision of bettering the world through biotechnology innovation.

The key benefits of attending the BIO International Convention are access to global biotech and pharma leaders via BIO One-on-One Partnering, exposure to industry though-leaders with over 1,500 education sessions at your fingertips, and unparalleled networking opportunities with 16,000+ attendees from 74 countries.

In addition, we produce BIOtechNOW, an online blog chronicling ‘innovations transforming our world’ and the BIO Newsletter, the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.

 

Membership with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)

BIO has a diverse membership that is comprised of  companies from all facets of biotechnology. Corporate R&D members range from entrepreneurial companies developing a first product to Fortune 100 multinationals. The majority of our members are small companies – 90 percent have annual revenues of $25 million or less, reflecting the broader biotechnology industry. Learn more about how you can save with BIO Membership.

BIO also represents academic centers, state and regional biotech associations and service providers to the industry, including financial and consulting firms.

  • 66% R&D-Intensive Companies *Of those: 89% have annual revenues under $25 million,  4% have annual revenues between $25 million and $1 billion, 7% have annual revenues over $1 billion.
  • 16% Nonprofit/Academic
  • 11% Service Providers
  • 7% State/International Affiliate Organizations

Other posts on LIVE CONFERENCE COVERAGE using Social Media on this OPEN ACCESS JOURNAL and OTHER Conferences Covered please see the following link at https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/press-coverage/

 

Notable Conferences Covered THIS YEAR INCLUDE: (see full list from 2013 at this link)

  • Koch Institute 2019 Immune Engineering Symposium, January 28-29, 2019, Kresge Auditorium, MIT

https://calendar.mit.edu/event/immune_engineering_symposium_2019#.XBrIDc9Kgcg

http://kochinstituteevents.cvent.com/events/koch-institute-2019-immune-engineering-symposium/event-summary-8d2098bb601a4654991060d59e92d7fe.aspx?dvce=1

 

  • 2019 MassBio’s Annual Meeting, State of Possible Conference ​, March 27 – 28, 2019, Royal Sonesta, Cambridge

http://files.massbio.org/file/MassBio-State-Of-Possible-Conference-Agenda-Feb-22-2019.pdf

 

  • World Medical Innovation Forum, Partners Innovations, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | APRIL 8–10, 2019 | Westin, BOSTON

https://worldmedicalinnovation.org/agenda-list/

https://worldmedicalinnovation.org/

 

  • 18th Annual 2019 BioIT, Conference & Expo, April 16-18, 2019, Boston, Seaport World Trade Center, Track 5 Next-Gen Sequencing Informatics – Advances in Large-Scale Computing

http://www.giiconference.com/chi653337/

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/04/22/18th-annual-2019-bioit-conference-expo-april-16-18-2019-boston-seaport-world-trade-center-track-5-next-gen-sequencing-informatics-advances-in-large-scale-computing/

 

  • Translating Genetics into Medicine, April 25, 2019, 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM, The New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St Fl 40, New York

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/04/25/translating-genetics-into-medicine-april-25-2019-830-am-600-pm-the-new-york-academy-of-sciences-7-world-trade-center-250-greenwich-st-fl-40-new-york/

 

  • 13th Annual US-India BioPharma & Healthcare Summit, May 9, 2019, Marriott, Cambridge

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/04/30/13th-annual-biopharma-healthcare-summit-thursday-may-9-2019/

 

  • 2019 Petrie-Flom Center Annual Conference: Consuming Genetics: Ethical and Legal Considerations of New Technologies, May 17, 2019, Harvard Law School

http://petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/events/details/2019-petrie-flom-center-annual-conference

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/01/11/2019-petrie-flom-center-annual-conference-consuming-genetics-ethical-and-legal-considerations-of-new-technologies/

 

  • 2019 Koch Institute Symposium – Machine Learning and Cancer, June 14, 2019, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM  ET MIT Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/03/12/2019-koch-institute-symposium-machine-learning-and-cancer-june-14-2019-800-am-500-pmet-mit-kresge-auditorium-48-massachusetts-ave-cambridge-ma/

 

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One or More Clinical Trials to get FDA Approve a Drug?

 

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Almost half of all new drug approvals in 2018 relied on one clinical trial

SOURCE

https://endpts.com/almost-half-of-all-new-drug-approvals-in-2018-relied-on-one-clinical-trial/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=726%20JJ%20has%20a%20new%20list%20of%20blockbusters-to-be%20it%20wants%20you%20to%20know%20about%20Top%20Biogen%20exec%20jumps%20ship&utm_content=726%20JJ%20has%20a%20new%20list%20of%20blockbusters-to-be%20it%20wants%20you%20to%20know%20about%20Top%20Biogen%20exec%20jumps%20ship+CID_15fe600050d8a9e0e22fba39d1651c9a&utm_source=ENDPOINTS%20emails&utm_term=Almost%20half%20of%20all%20new%20drug%20approvals%20in%202018%20relied%20on%20one%20clinical%20trial

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The Regulatory challenge in adopting AI

Author and Curator: Dror Nir, PhD

In the last couple of years we are witnessing a surge of AI applications in healthcare. It is clear now, that AI and its wide range of health-applications are about to revolutionize diseases’ pathways and the way the variety of stakeholders in this market interact.

Not surprisingly, the developing surge has waken the regulatory watchdogs who are now debating ways to manage the introduction of such applications to healthcare. Attributing measures to known regulatory checkboxes like safety, and efficacy is proving to be a complex exercise. How to align claims made by manufacturers, use cases, users’ expectations and public expectations is unclear. A recent demonstration of that is the so called “failure” of AI in social-network applications like FaceBook and Twitter in handling harmful materials.

‘Advancing AI in the NHS’ – is a report covering the challenges and opportunities of AI in the NHS. It is a modest contribution to the debate in such a timely and fast-moving field!  I bring here the report’s preface and executive summary hoping that whoever is interested in reading the whole 50 pages of it will follow this link: f53ce9_e4e9c4de7f3c446fb1a089615492ba8c

Screenshot 2019-04-07 at 17.18.18

 

Acknowledgements

We and Polygeia as a whole are grateful to Dr Dror Nir, Director, RadBee, whose insights

were valuable throughout the research, conceptualisation, and writing phases of this work; and to Dr Giorgio Quer, Senior Research Scientist, Scripps Research Institute; Dr Matt Willis, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford; Professor Eric T. Meyer, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford; Alexander Hitchcock, Senior Researcher, Reform; Windi Hari, Vice President Clinical, Quality & Regulatory, HeartFlow; Jon Holmes, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Vivosight; and Claudia Hartman, School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford for their advice and support.

Author affiliations

Lev Tankelevitch, University of Oxford

Alice Ahn, University of Oxford

Rachel Paterson, University of Oxford

Matthew Reid, University of Oxford

Emily Hilbourne, University of Oxford

Bryan Adriaanse, University of Oxford

Giorgio Quer, Scripps Research Institute

Dror Nir, RadBee

Parth Patel, University of Cambridge

All affiliations are at the time of writing.

Polygeia

Polygeia is an independent, non-party, and non-profit think-tank focusing on health and its intersection with technology, politics, and economics. Our aim is to produce high-quality research on global health issues and policies. With branches in Oxford, Cambridge, London and New York, our work has led to policy reports, peer-reviewed publications, and presentations at the House of Commons and the European Parliament. http://www.polygeia.com @Polygeia © Polygeia 2018. All rights reserved.

Foreword

Almost every day, as MP for Cambridge, I am told of new innovations and developments that show that we are on the cusp of a technological revolution across the sectors. This technology is capable of revolutionising the way we work; incredible innovations which could increase our accuracy, productivity and efficiency and improve our capacity for creativity and innovation.

But huge change, particularly through adoption of new technology, can be difficult to  communicate to the public, and if we do not make sure that we explain carefully the real benefits of such technologies we easily risk a backlash. Despite good intentions, the care.data programme failed to win public trust, with widespread worries that the appropriate safeguards weren’t in place, and a failure to properly explain potential benefits to patients. It is vital that the checks and balances we put in place are robust enough to sooth public anxiety, and prevent problems which could lead to steps back, rather than forwards.

Previous attempts to introduce digital innovation into the NHS also teach us that cross-disciplinary and cross-sector collaboration is essential. Realising this technological revolution in healthcare will require industry, academia and the NHS to work together and share their expertise to ensure that technical innovations are developed and adopted in ways that prioritise patient health, rather than innovation for its own sake. Alongside this, we must make sure that the NHS workforce whose practice will be altered by AI are on side. Consultation and education are key, and this report details well the skills that will be vital to NHS adoption of AI. Technology is only as good as those who use it, and for this, we must listen to the medical and healthcare professionals who will rightly know best the concerns both of patients and their colleagues. The new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, the ICO and the National Data Guardian will be key in working alongside the NHS to create both a regulatory framework and the communications which win society’s trust. With this, and with real leadership from the sector and from politicians, focused on the rights and concerns of individuals, AI can be advanced in the NHS to help keep us all healthy.

Daniel Zeichner

MP for Cambridge

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Data Analytics

 

Executive summary

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform how the NHS delivers care. From enabling patients to self-care and manage long-term conditions, to advancing triage, diagnostics, treatment, research, and resource management, AI can improve patient outcomes and increase efficiency. Achieving this potential, however, requires addressing a number of ethical, social, legal, and technical challenges. This report describes these challenges within the context of healthcare and offers directions forward.

Data governance

AI-assisted healthcare will demand better collection and sharing of health data between NHS, industry and academic stakeholders. This requires a data governance system that ensures ethical management of health data and enables its use for the improvement of healthcare delivery. Data sharing must be supported by patients. The recently launched NHS data opt-out programme is an important starting point, and will require monitoring to ensure that it has the transparency and clarity to avoid exploiting the public’s lack of awareness and understanding. Data sharing must also be streamlined and mutually beneficial. Current NHS data sharing practices are disjointed and difficult to negotiate from both industry and NHS perspectives. This issue is complicated by the increasing integration of ’traditional’ health data with that from commercial apps and wearables. Finding approaches to valuate data, and considering how patients, the NHS and its partners can benefit from data sharing is key to developing a data sharing framework. Finally, data sharing should be underpinned by digital infrastructure that enables cybersecurity and accountability.

Digital infrastructure

Developing and deploying AI-assisted healthcare requires high quantity and quality digital data. This demands effective digitisation of the NHS, especially within secondary care, involving not only the transformation of paper-based records into digital data, but also improvement of quality assurance practices and increased data linkage. Beyond data digitisation, broader IT infrastructure also needs upgrading, including the use of innovations such as wearable technology and interoperability between NHS sectors and institutions. This would not only increase data availability for AI development, but also provide patients with seamless healthcare delivery, putting the NHS at the vanguard of healthcare innovation.

Standards

The recent advances in AI and the surrounding hype has meant that the development of AI-assisted healthcare remains haphazard across the industry, with quality being difficult to determine or varying widely. Without adequate product validation, including in

real-world settings, there is a risk of unexpected or unintended performance, such as sociodemographic biases or errors arising from inappropriate human-AI interaction. There is a need to develop standardised ways to probe training data, to agree upon clinically-relevant performance benchmarks, and to design approaches to enable and evaluate algorithm interpretability for productive human-AI interaction. In all of these areas, standardised does not necessarily mean one-size-fits-all. These issues require addressing the specifics of AI within a healthcare context, with consideration of users’ expertise, their environment, and products’ intended use. This calls for a fundamentally interdisciplinary approach, including experts in AI, medicine, ethics, cognitive science, usability design, and ethnography.

Regulations

Despite the recognition of AI-assisted healthcare products as medical devices, current regulatory efforts by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the European Commission have yet to be accompanied by detailed guidelines which address questions concerning AI product classification, validation, and monitoring. This is compounded by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the UK’s future relationship with the European Medicines Agency. The absence of regulatory clarity risks compromising patient safety and stalling the development of AI-assisted healthcare. Close working partnerships involving regulators, industry members, healthcare institutions, and independent AI-related bodies (for example, as part of regulatory sandboxes) will be needed to enable innovation while ensuring patient safety.

The workforce

AI will be a tool for the healthcare workforce. Harnessing its utility to improve care requires an expanded workforce with the digital skills necessary for both developing AI capability and for working productively with the technology as it becomes commonplace.

Developing capability for AI will involve finding ways to increase the number of clinician-informaticians who can lead the development, procurement and adoption of AI technology while ensuring that innovation remains tied to the human aspect of healthcare delivery. More broadly, healthcare professionals will need to complement their socio-emotional and cognitive skills with training to appropriately interpret information provided by AI products and communicate it effectively to co-workers and patients.

Although much effort has gone into predicting how many jobs will be affected by AI-driven automation, understanding the impact on the healthcare workforce will require examining how jobs will change, not simply how many will change.

Legal liability

AI-assisted healthcare has implications for the legal liability framework: who should be held responsible in the case of a medical error involving AI? Addressing the question of liability will involve understanding how healthcare professionals’ duty of care will be impacted by use of the technology. This is tied to the lack of training standards for healthcare professionals to safely and effectively work with AI, and to the challenges of algorithm interpretability, with ”black-box” systems forcing healthcare professionals to blindly trust or distrust their output. More broadly, it will be important to examine the legal liability of healthcare professionals, NHS trusts and industry partners, raising questions

Recommendations

  1. The NHS, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, and industry and academic partners should conduct a review to understand the obstacles that the NHS and external organisations face around data sharing. They should also develop health data valuation protocols which consider the perspectives of patients, the NHS, commercial organisations, and academia. This work should inform the development of a data sharing framework.
  2. The National Data Guardian and the Department of Health should monitor the NHS data opt-out programme and its approach to transparency and communication, evaluating how the public understands commercial and non-commercial data use and the handling of data at different levels of anonymisation.
  3. The NHS, patient advocacy groups, and commercial organisations should expand public engagement strategies around data governance, including discussions about the value of health data for improving healthcare; public and private sector interactions in the development of AI-assisted healthcare; and the NHS’s strategies around data anonymisation, accountability, and commercial partnerships. Findings from this work should inform the development of a data sharing framework.
  4. The NHS Digital Security Operations Centre should ensure that all NHS organisations comply with cybersecurity standards, including having up-to-date technology.
  5. NHS Digital, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, and the Alan Turing Institute should develop technological approaches to data privacy, auditing, and accountability that could be implemented in the NHS. This should include learning from Global Digital Exemplar trusts in the UK and from international examples such as Estonia.
  6. The NHS should continue to increase the quantity, quality, and diversity of digital health data across trusts. It should consider targeted projects, in partnership with professional medical bodies, that quality-assure and curate datasets for more deployment-ready AI technology. It should also continue to develop its broader IT infrastructure, focusing on interoperability between sectors, institutions, and technologies, and including the end users as central stakeholders.
  7. The Alan Turing Institute, the Ada Lovelace Institute, and academic and industry partners in medicine and AI should develop ethical frameworks and technological approaches for the validation of training data in the healthcare sector, including methods to minimise performance biases and validate continuously-learning algorithms.
  8. The Alan Turing Institute, the Ada Lovelace Institute, and academic and industry partners in medicine and AI should develop standardised approaches for evaluating product performance in the healthcare sector, with consideration for existing human performance standards and products’ intended use.
  9. The Alan Turing Institute, the Ada Lovelace Institute, and academic and industry partners in medicine and AI should develop methods of enabling and evaluating algorithm interpretability in the healthcare sector. This work should involve experts in AI, medicine, ethics, usability design, cognitive science, and ethnography, among others.
  10. Developers of AI products and NHS Commissioners should ensure that usability design remains a top priority in their respective development and procurement of AI-assisted healthcare products.
  11. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency should establish a digital health unit with expertise in AI and digital products that will work together with manufacturers, healthcare bodies, notified bodies, AI-related organisations, and international forums to advance clear regulatory approaches and guidelines around AI product classification, validation, and monitoring. This should address issues including training data and biases, performance evaluation, algorithm interpretability, and usability.
  12. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, and industry partners should evaluate regulatory approaches, such as regulatory sandboxing, that can foster innovation in AI-assisted healthcare, ensure patient safety, and inform on-going regulatory development.
  13. The NHS should expand innovation acceleration programmes that bridge healthcare and industry partners, with a focus on increasing validation of AI products in real-world contexts and informing the development of a regulatory framework.
  14. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and other Government bodies should arrange a post-Brexit agreement ensuring that UK regulations of medical devices, including AI-assisted healthcare, are aligned as closely as possible to the European framework and that the UK can continue to help shape Europe-wide regulations around this technology.
  15. The General Medical Council, the Medical Royal Colleges, Health Education England, and AI-related bodies should partner with industry and academia on comprehensive examinations of the healthcare sector to assess which, when, and how jobs will be impacted by AI, including analyses of the current strengths, limitations, and workflows of healthcare professionals and broader NHS staff. They should also examine how AI-driven workforce changes will impact patient outcomes.
  16. The Federation of Informatics Professionals and the Faculty of Clinical Informatics should continue to lead and expand standards for health informatics competencies, integrating the relevant aspects of AI into their training, accreditation, and professional development programmes for clinician-informaticians and related professions.
  17. Health Education England should expand training programmes to advance digital and AI-related skills among healthcare professionals. Competency standards for working with AI should be identified for each role and established in accordance with professional registration bodies such as the General Medical Council. Training programmes should ensure that ”un-automatable” socio-emotional and cognitive skills remain an important focus.
  18. The NHS Digital Academy should expand recruitment and training efforts to increase the number of Chief Clinical Information Officers across the NHS, and ensure that the latest AI ethics, standards, and innovations are embedded in their training programme.
  19. Legal experts, ethicists, AI-related bodies, professional medical bodies, and industry should review the implications of AI-assisted healthcare for legal liability. This includes understanding how healthcare professionals’ duty of care will be affected, the role of workforce training and product validation standards, and the potential role of NHS Indemnity and no-fault compensation systems.
  20. AI-related bodies such as the Ada Lovelace Institute, patient advocacy groups and other healthcare stakeholders should lead a public engagement and dialogue strategy to understand the public’s views on liability for AI-assisted healthcare.

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That is the question…

Anyone who follows healthcare news, as I do , cannot help being impressed with the number of scientific and non-scientific items that mention the applicability of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (‘MRI’) to medical procedures.

A very important aspect that is worthwhile noting is that the promise MRI bears to improve patients’ screening – pre-clinical diagnosis, better treatment choice, treatment guidance and outcome follow-up – is based on new techniques that enables MRI-based tissue characterisation.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging device that relies on the well-known physical phenomena named “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance”. It so happens that, due to its short relaxation time, the 1H isotope (spin ½ nucleus) has a very distinctive response to changes in the surrounding magnetic field. This serves MRI imaging of the human body well as, basically, we are 90% water. The MRI device makes use of strong magnetic fields changing at radio frequency to produce cross-sectional images of organs and internal structures in the body. Because the signal detected by an MRI machine varies depending on the water content and local magnetic properties of a particular area of the body, different tissues or substances can be distinguished from one another in the scan’s resulting image.

The main advantages of MRI in comparison to X-ray-based devices such as CT scanners and mammography systems are that the energy it uses is non-ionizing and it can differentiate soft tissues very well based on differences in their water content.

In the last decade, the basic imaging capabilities of MRI have been augmented for the purpose of cancer patient management, by using magnetically active materials (called contrast agents) and adding functional measurements such as tissue temperature to show internal structures or abnormalities more clearly.

 

In order to increase the specificity and sensitivity of MRI imaging in cancer detection, various imaging strategies have been developed. The most discussed in MRI related literature are:

  • T2 weighted imaging: The measured response of the 1H isotope in a resolution cell of a T2-weighted image is related to the extent of random tumbling and the rotational motion of the water molecules within that resolution cell. The faster the rotation of the water molecule, the higher the measured value of the T2 weighted response in that resolution cell. For example, prostate cancer is characterized by a low T2 response relative to the values typical to normal prostatic tissue [5].

T2 MRI pelvis with Endo Rectal Coil ( DATA of Dr. Lance Mynders, MAYO Clinic)

  • Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DCE) MRI involves a series of rapid MRI scans in the presence of a contrast agent. In the case of scanning the prostate, the most commonly used material is gadolinium [4].

Axial MRI  Lava DCE with Endo Rectal ( DATA of Dr. Lance Mynders, MAYO Clinic)

  • Diffusion weighted (DW) imaging: Provides an image intensity that is related to the microscopic motion of water molecules [5].

DW image of the left parietal glioblastoma multiforme (WHO grade IV) in a 59-year-old woman, Al-Okaili R N et al. Radiographics 2006;26:S173-S189

  • Multifunctional MRI: MRI image overlaid with combined information from T2-weighted scans, dynamic contrast-enhancement (DCE), and diffusion weighting (DW) [5].

Source AJR: http://www.ajronline.org/content/196/6/W715/F3

  • Blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) MRI: Assessing tissue oxygenation. Tumors are characterized by a higher density of micro blood vessels. The images that are acquired follow changes in the concentration of paramagnetic deoxyhaemoglobin [5].

In the last couple of years, medical opinion leaders are offering to use MRI to solve almost every weakness of the cancer patients’ pathway. Such proposals are not always supported by any evidence of feasibility. For example, a couple of weeks ago, the British Medical Journal published a study [1] concluding that women carrying a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes who have undergone a mammogram or chest x-ray before the age of 30 are more likely to develop breast cancer than those who carry the gene mutation but who have not been exposed to mammography. What is published over the internet and media to patients and lay medical practitioners is: “The results of this study support the use of non-ionising radiation imaging techniques (such as magnetic resonance imaging) as the main tool for surveillance in young women with BRCA1/2 mutations.”.

Why is ultrasound not mentioned as a potential “non-ionising radiation imaging technique”?

Another illustration is the following advert:

An MRI scan takes between 30 to 45 minutes to perform (not including the time of waiting for the interpretation by the radiologist). It requires the support of around 4 well-trained team members. It costs between $400 and $3500 (depending on the scan).

The important question, therefore, is: Are there, in the USA, enough MRI  systems to meet the demand of 40 million scans a year addressing women with radiographically dense  breasts? Toda there are approximately 10,000 MRI systems in the USA. Only a small percentage (~2%) of the examinations are related to breast cancer. A

A rough calculation reveals that around 10000 additional MRI centers would need to be financed and operated to meet that demand alone.

References

  1. Exposure to diagnostic radiation and risk of breast cancer among carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations: retrospective cohort study (GENE-RAD-RISK), BMJ 2012; 345 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e5660 (Published 6 September 2012), Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5660 – http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e5660
  1. http://www.auntminnieeurope.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=wom&pag=dis&itemId=607075
  1. Ahmed HU, Kirkham A, Arya M, Illing R, Freeman A, Allen C, Emberton M. Is it time to consider a role for MRI before prostate biopsy? Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2009;6(4):197-206.
  1. Puech P, Potiron E, Lemaitre L, Leroy X, Haber GP, Crouzet S, Kamoi K, Villers A. Dynamic contrast-enhanced-magnetic resonance imaging evaluation of intraprostatic prostate cancer: correlation with radical prostatectomy specimens. Urology. 2009;74(5):1094-9.
  1. Advanced MR Imaging Techniques in the Diagnosis of Intraaxial Brain Tumors in Adults, Al-Okaili R N et al. Radiographics 2006;26:S173-S189 ,

http://radiographics.rsna.org/content/26/suppl_1/S173.full

  1. Ahmed HU. The Index Lesion and the Origin of Prostate Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2009 Oct; 361(17): 1704-6

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A Timeline of Dr. Gottlieb’s Tenure at the FDA: 2017-2019

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

 

From FiercePharma.com

FDA chief Scott Gottlieb steps down, leaving pet projects behind

Scott Gottlieb FDA
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb was appointed by President Trump in 2017. (FDA)

Also under his command, the FDA took quick and decisive action on drug costs. The commissioner worked to boost generic approvals and crack down on regulatory “gaming” that stifles competition. He additionally blamed branded drug companies for an “anemic” U.S. biosimilars market and recently blasted insulin pricing.

His sudden departure will likely leave many agency efforts to lower costs up in the air. After the news broke, many pharma watchers posted on Twitter that Gottlieb’s resignation is a loss for the industry.

During his tenure as FDA commissioner, Gottlieb’s name had been floated for HHS chief when former HHS secretary Tom Price resigned due to a travel scandal, but Gottlieb said he was best suited for the FDA commissioner job. Now, former Eli Lilly executive Alex Azar serves as HHS secretary, and on Tuesday afternoon, Azar praised Gottlieb for his work at the agency.

Also read from FiercePharma:

Gottlieb’s quick goodbye triggers investor panic, biopharma bewilderment and at least one good riddance

AUDIT Podcast

An emergency Scott Gottlieb podcast

 

Why is Scott Gottlieb quitting the FDA? Who will replace him?

 

A Timeline of Dr. Gottlieb’s Tenure at the FDA

From FiercePharma.com

New FDA commissioner Gottlieb unveils price-fighting strategies

Scott Gottlieb
New FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb laid out some approaches the agency will take to fight high prices.

UPDATED 3/19/2019

Dr. Norman E. Sharpless was named acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday. For the last 18 months, he had been director of the National Cancer Institute.CreditTom Williams/CQ Roll Call, via Getty Images
Image
Dr. Norman E. Sharpless was named acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday. For the last 18 months, he had been director of the National Cancer Institute.CreditCreditTom Williams/CQ Roll Call, via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Dr. Norman E. (Ned) Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, will serve as acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Alex M. Azar III, secretary of health and human services, announced on Tuesday.

Dr. Sharpless temporarily will fill the post being vacated by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who stunned public health experts, lawmakers and consumer groups last week when he abruptly announced that he was resigningfor personal reasons.

Dr. Sharpless has been director of the cancer center, part of the National Institutes of Health, since October 2017. He is also chief of the aging biology and cancer section in the National Institute on Aging’s Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics. His research focuses on the relationship between aging and cancer, and development of new treatments for melanoma, lung cancer and breast cancer.

“Dr. Sharpless’s deep scientific background and expertise will make him a strong leader for F.D.A.,” said Mr. Azar, in a statement. “There will be no let up in the agency’s focus, from ongoing efforts on drug approvals and combating the opioid crisis to modernizing food safety and addressing the rapid rise in youth use of e-cigarettes.”

Dr. Douglas Lowy, known for seminal research on the link between human papillomavirus and multiple cancer types including cervical, and ultimately leading to development of a vaccine, will be named head of the NCI to replace Dr. Sharpless. Dr. Lowy currently is Deputy Director of the NCI.

Other posts on the Food and Drug Administration and FDA Approvals during Dr. Gotlieb’s Tenure on this Open Access Journal Include:

 

Regulatory Affairs: Publications on FDA-related Issues – Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

FDA Approves La Jolla’s Angiotensin 2

In 2018, FDA approved an all-time record of 62 new therapeutic drugs (NTDs) [Not including diagnostic imaging agents, included are combination products with at least one new molecular entity as an active ingredient] with average Peak Sales per NTD $1.2Billion.

Alnylam Announces First-Ever FDA Approval of an RNAi Therapeutic, ONPATTRO™ (patisiran) for the Treatment of the Polyneuropathy of Hereditary Transthyretin-Mediated Amyloidosis in Adults

FDA: Rejects NDA filing: “clinical and non-clinical pharmacology sections of the application were not sufficient to complete a review”: Celgene’s Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis Drug – Ozanimod

Expanded Stroke Thrombectomy Guidelines: FDA expands treatment window for use (Up to 24 Hours Post-Stroke) of clot retrieval devices (Stryker’s Trevo Stent) in certain stroke patients

In 2017, FDA approved a record number of 19 personalized medicines — 16 new molecular entities and 3 gene therapies – PMC’s annual analysis, titled Personalized Medicine at FDA: 2017 Progress Report

FDA Approval marks first presentation of bivalirudin in frozen, premixed, ready-to-use formulation

Skin Regeneration Therapy One of First Tissue Engineering Products Evaluated by FDA

FDA approval on 12/1/2017 of Amgen’s evolocumb (Repatha) a PCSK9 inhibitor for the prevention of heart attacks, strokes, and coronary revascularizations in patients with established cardiovascular disease

FDA Approval of Anti-Depression Digital Pill Tracks Use When Swallowed and transmits to MDs Smartphone – A Breakthrough in Medication Remote Compliance Monitoring

Medical Devices Early Feasibility FDA’s Pathway – Accelerated Recruitment for Randomized Clinical Trials: Replacement and Repair of Mitral Valves

Novartis’ Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), FDA approved genetically engineered immune cells, would charge $475,000 per patient, will use Programs that Payers will pay only for Responding Patients 

FDA has approved the world’s first CAR-T therapy, Novartis for Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) and Gilead’s $12 billion buy of Kite Pharma, no approved drug and Canakinumab for Lung Cancer (may be?)

FDA: CAR-T therapy outweigh its risks tisagenlecleucel, manufactured by Novartis of Basel – 52 out of 63 participants — 82.5% — experienced overall remissions – young patients with Leukaemia [ALL]

‘Landmark FDA approval bolsters personalized medicine’ by Edward Abrahams, PhD, President, PMC

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