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Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019: Understanding the Voices of Patients: Unique Perspectives on Healthcare; June 4 11:00 AM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD @StephenJWillia2

 

Description

The role of the patient has evolved dramatically over the past decade. Not only are patients increasingly more involved in their healthcare decision making, they are also passionate advocates who work tirelessly to advance drug development research and development and secure a public policy environment that is patient-centric. Join a discussion with patient advocates as they discuss their journeys to diagnosis and their viewpoints on our healthcare system. They will share their perspectives on what it means to be a patient and how they are advocating in their own unique ways to achieve a common goal: bringing new treatments to patients.

Speakers
Christopher Anselmo: affected by MS but did not understand why he should be involved in a study at the time or share your story but he saw others who benefited from both of these and now is fervent patient advocate. Each patient is worth their weight in gold as needed for other patient support.  The why needs to be asked of oneself before go out to other patients or into new trials. Might not see through to end if don’t have that discussion of why doing this.
Eve Bukowski:  she had stomach aches, went to hospital, and diagnosed with constipation, but had stage III colon cancer.  She was campaigning for Hillary Clinton but then started to campaign for her life.  She wound up having multiple therapies and even many I/O trials.  Fighting cancer is a mental challenge.   She has been fighting for eleven years but has an amazing strength and will.
Emily Kramer: cystic fibrosis patient.  Advocates for research as she has a mutant allele (nonsense mut) that is not targeted by the current new therapy against known mutants of CFTR.  So started Emily’s Entourage for this orphan of an orphan disease.  Funded $4 million in grants and helped develop a new startup and get early seed funding.  Noticed that the infrastructure to get these drugs to market was broken and also is investing to shore up these breaks in drug pipeline infrastructure for orphan diseases. For progressive diseases she would like drug developers to shift the timelines or speed with which they get to take a chance and try that new possibility. As a patient advocacy org, they want to partner every step of the way with biotech/pharma, they understand co’s and stakeholders can only do so much but let’s break out of convention.
Julie: many patient advocacy groups go person to person and make a support network.

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Reporter: Gail S. Thornton

 

From The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com)

Published January 9, 2019

Health-Care CEOs Outline Strategies at J.P. Morgan Conference

Chiefs at Johnson & Johnson, CVS discuss what’s next on a range of industry issues

One of the biggest health conferences of the year for investors, the J.P. Morgan Health-Care Conference, is taking place this week in San Francisco. Here are some of the hot topics covered at the four-day event, which wraps up Thursday.

BioMarin Mulls Payment Plans

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaimé said he would consider pursuing installment payment arrangements for the biotech’s experimental gene therapy for hemophilia. At the conference, Mr. Bienaimé told the Wall Street Journal that the one-time infusion, Valrox, is likely to cost in the millions because studies have shown it can eliminate bleeding episodes in patients, and current hemophilia treatments taken chronically can cost millions over several years. “We’re not trying to charge more than existing therapies,” he said. “We want to offer a better treatment at the same or lower cost.”

Johnson & Johnson Warns on Pricing

As politicians hammer drug prices, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky suggested companies need to police themselves. At the conference, Mr. Gorsky told investors that drug companies should price drugs reasonably and be transparent. “If we don’t do this as an industry, I think there will be other alternatives that will be more onerous for us,” Mr. Gorsky says. Some drugmakers pulled back from price increases in mid-2018 amid heightened political scrutiny, but prices went up for many drugs at the start of 2019.

Marijuana-Derived Drugs Show Promise

 

CVS Discusses New Stores

CVS Health Corp. Chief Executive Larry Merlo began showing initial concepts the company will be testing as it begins piloting new models of its drugstores that incorporate its Aetna combination. The first new test store will open next month in Houston, he told investors, and it will include expanded health-care services including a new concierge who will help patients with questions. 

Aetna Savings On the Way

Mr. Merlo also spelled out when the company will achieve the initial $750 million in synergies it has promised from the CVS-Aetna deal. In the first quarter, he said the company will see benefits from consolidating corporate functions. Savings from procurement and aligning lists of covered drugs should be seen in the first half, he says. Medical-cost savings will start affecting results toward the end of the year, he noted. 

Lilly Cuts Price

Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. expects average net US pricing for its drugs–after rebates and discounts–to decline in the low- to mid-single digits on a percentage basis this year, Chief Financial Officer Josh Smiley told the Journal. Lilly’s net prices had risen during the first half of 2018, but dropped in the third quarter as the company took a “restrained approach,” Mr. Smiley said. Lilly, which hasn’t yet reported fourth-quarter results, took some list price increases for cancer drugs in late December but hasn’t raised prices in the new year, he said.

Peter Loftus at peter.loftus@wsj.com and Anna Wilde Mathews at anna.mathews@wsj.com

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37th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE: News at #JPM2019 for Jan. 10, 2019: Deals and Announcements

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

From Biospace.com

 

JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Update: Sage, Mersana, Shutdown Woes and Babies

Speaker presenting to audience at a conference

With the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference winding down, companies remain busy striking deals and informing investors about pipeline advances. BioSpace snagged some of the interesting news bits to come out of the conference from Wednesday.

SAGE Therapeutics – Following a positive Phase III report that its postpartum depression treatment candidate SAGE-217 hit the mark in its late-stage clinical trial, Sage Therapeutics is eying the potential to have multiple treatment options available for patients. At the start of J.P. Morgan, Sage said that patients treated with SAGE-217 had a statistically significant improvement of 17.8 points in the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, compared to 13.6 for placebo. The company plans to seek approval for SAGE-2017, but before that, the FDA is expected to make a decision on Zulresso in March. Zulresso already passed muster from advisory committees in November, and if approved, would be the first drug specifically for postpartum depression. In an interview with the Business Journal, Chief Business Officer Mike Cloonan said the company believes there is room in the market for both medications, particularly since the medications address different patient populations.

 

Mersana Therapeutics – After a breakup with Takeda Pharmaceutical and the shelving of its lead product, Cambridge, Mass.-based Mersana is making a new path. Even though a partial clinical hold was lifted following the death of a patient the company opted to shelve development of XMT-1522. During a presentation at JPM, CEO Anna Protopapas noted that many other companies are developing therapies that target the HER2 protein, which led to the decision, according to the Boston Business Journal. Protopapas said the HER2 space is highly competitive and now the company will focus on its other asset, XMT-1536, an ADC targeting NaPi2b, an antigen highly expressed in the majority of non-squamous NSCLC and epithelial ovarian cancer. XMT-1536 is currently in Phase 1 clinical trials for NaPi2b-expressing cancers, including ovarian cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers. Data on XMT-1536 is expected in the first half of 2019.

Novavax – During a JPM presentation, Stan Erck, CEO of Novavax, pointed to the company’s RSV vaccine, which is in late-stage development. The vaccine is being developed for the mother, in order to protect an infant. The mother transfers the antibodies to the infant, which will provide the baby with protection from RSV in its first six months. Erck called the program historic. He said the Phase III program is in its fourth year and the company has vaccinated 4,636 women. He said they are tracking the women and the babies. Researchers call the mothers every week through the first six months of the baby’s life to acquire data. Erck said the company anticipates announcing trial data this quarter. If approved, Erck said the market for the vaccine could be a significant revenue driver.

“You have 3.9 million birth cohorts and we expect 80 percent to 90 percent of those mothers to be vaccinated as a pediatric vaccine and in the U.S. the market rate is somewhere between $750 million and a $1 billion and then double that for worldwide market. So it’s a large market and we will be first to market in this,” Erck said, according to a transcript of the presentation.

Denali Therapeutics – Denali forged a collaboration with Germany-based SIRION Biotech to develop gene therapies for central nervous disorders. The two companies plan to develop adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors to enable therapeutics to cross the blood-brain barrier for clinical applications in neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS and certain other diseases of the CNS.

AstraZeneca – Pharma giant AstraZeneca reported that in 2019 net prices on average across the portfolio will decrease versus 2018. With a backdrop of intense public and government scrutiny over pricing, Market Access head Rick Suarez said the company is increasing its pricing transparency. Additionally, he said the company is looking at new ways to price drugs, such as value-based reimbursement agreements with payers, Pink Sheet reported.

Amarin Corporation – As the company eyes a potential label expansion approval for its cardiovascular disease treatment Vascepa, Amarin Corporation has been proactively hiring hundreds of sales reps. In the fourth quarter, the company hired 265 new sales reps, giving the company a sales team of more than 400, CEO John Thero said. Thero noted that is a label expansion is granted by the FDA, “revenues will increase at least 50 percent over what we did in the prior year, which would give us revenues of approximate $350 million in 2019.”

Government Woes – As the partial government shutdown in the United States continues into its third week, biotech leaders at JPM raised concern as the FDA’s carryover funds are dwindling. With no new funding coming in, reviews of New Drug Applications won’t be able to continue past February, Pink Sheet said. While reviews are currently ongoing, no New Drug Applications are being accepted by the FDA at this time. With the halt of NDA applications, that has also caused some companies to delay plans for an initial public offering. It’s hard to raise potential investor excitement without the regulatory support of a potential drug approval. During a panel discussion, Jonathan Leff, a partner at Deerfield Management, noted that the ongoing government shutdown is a reminder of how “overwhelmingly dependent the whole industry of biotech and drug development is on government,” Pink Sheet said.

Other posts on the JP Morgan 2019 Healthcare Conference on this Open Access Journal include:

#JPM19 Conference: Lilly Announces Agreement To Acquire Loxo Oncology

36th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE January 8 – 11, 2018

37th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE: #JPM2019 for Jan. 8, 2019; Opening Videos, Novartis expands Cell Therapies, January 7 – 10, 2019, Westin St. Francis Hotel | San Francisco, California

37th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE: News at #JPM2019 for Jan. 8, 2019: Deals and Announcements

 

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37th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE: #JPM2019 for Jan. 8, 2019; Opening Videos, Novartis expands Cell Therapies, January 7 – 10, 2019, Westin St. Francis Hotel | San Francisco, California

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

The annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is the largest and most informative healthcare investment symposium in the industry, bringing together industry leaders, emerging fast-growth companies, innovative technology creators, and members of the investment community.

 

Joe Biden

Joe Biden on the Fight Against Cancer

Former Vice President of the United States joined the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference to discuss cancer initiatives.

Watch Video

Bill Gates

Bill Gates on the Current State of Global Health

In his keynote address at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Bill Gates spoke about the state of healthcare around the world.

Watch Video

CEO Anne

Anne Wojcicki on Disrupting the Healthcare Industry

The CEO of 23andMe discusses at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference how her genomics company is activating the power of the consumer.

Watch Video

  1. Another packed house as panel including Saurabh Saha, & Alexis Borisy discuss the rewiring of R&D for the digital age at Exec Bfast

Novartis Talks Move to Cell and Gene Therapies at JPM

Novartis logo on outdoor wall

Denis Linine / Shutterstock

Following a strong post-hoc analysis of mid-stage data in the fall of 2018, Novartis announced this morning the company’s experimental humanized anti-P-selectin monoclonal antibody was crizanlizumab granted Breakthrough Therapy Status by the U.S.Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Crizanlizumab received the designation as a treatment for the prevention of vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs) in patients of all genotypes with sickle cell disease (SCD). VOCs, which can be extremely painful for patients, happen when multiple blood cells stick to each other and to blood vessels, causing blockages.

The designation was awarded following results from the Phase II SUSTAIN trial, which showed that crizanlizumab reduced the median annual rate of VOCs leading to health care visits by 45.3 percent compared to placebo. The SUSTAIN study also showed that crizanlizumab significantly increased the percentage of patients who did not experience any VOCs vs placebo, 35.8 percent vs. 16.9 percent.

The FDA designation came one day after the Swiss pharma giant laid out its map for a future of success, sustainability and, if things work out, respect from consumers. In an interview with CNBC Monday, Novartis Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan noted that the company is looking to become an entity that doesn’t draw its profits from treating disease, but will make money by providing cures. He pointed to the moves Novartis has made toward gene and cellular therapies that have the potential to cure patients of various diseases in what many researchers hope could be a “one-and-done” treatment. Narasimhan told CNBC that cures are what society wants and that is something they will value. The challenge will be determining the payment system.

As an example, the company is eying potential approval of a gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a fatal genetic disease marked by progressive, debilitating muscle weakness in infants and toddlers. Novartis’ gene therapy Zolgensma is expected to be approved by the FDA this year and could have a price tag of between $4 and $5 million. While significantly high, non-profit SMA groups have already suggested that the gene therapy treatment could be more cost-effective than Spinraza, the only approved SMA treatment on the market.

During its presentation at J.P. Morgan, Novartis pointed to the moves it has made as the company pivots to this future of gene and cell therapies. The presentation noted that over the course of 2018, the company made several deals to sell off non-essential businesses, such as the $13 billion sale of its share of a consumer health business to partner GlaxoSmithKline. Not only that, but Novartis also made significant acquisitions to reshape its portfolio, including the $8.7 billion acquisition of AveXis for the SMA gene therapy. The deal for AveXis wasn’t the only gene therapy deal the company struck. Novartis began 2018 with a deal for Spark Therapeutics’ gene therapy Luxturna, a one-time gene therapy to restore functional vision in children and adult patients with biallelic mutations of the RPE65 (retinal pigment epithelial 65 kDa protein) gene.

In his interview with CNBC, Narasimhan said the company is about “platforms,” which also includes radio-ligand therapy. The company forged ahead in that area with two acquisitions, Advanced Accelerator Applications and Endocyte. Radiopharmaceuticals like Endocyte’s Lu-PSMA-617 are innovative medicinal formulations containing radioisotopes used clinically for both diagnosis and therapy. When the Endocyte deal was announced, Novartis noted the field is expected to become an increasingly important treatment option for patients, as well as a key growth driver for the company’s oncology business.

Other posts on the JP Morgan 2019 Healthcare Conference on this Open Access Journal include:

#JPM19 Conference: Lilly Announces Agreement To Acquire Loxo Oncology

36th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE January 8 – 11, 2018

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Innovation + Technology = Good Patient Experience

Reporter: Gail S. Thornton

 

Following are a sampling of several relevant articles comprising health innovation and technology, which may ultimately lead to a good patient experience. 

When a health journalist found out her 4-year-old son had a brain tumor, her family faced an urgent choice: proven but punishing rounds of chemotherapy, or a twice-a-day pill of a new “targeted” therapy with a scant track record.

SOURCE

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/genomics-tumor/

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Paying for Tumor Testing

A recent U.S. government decision about coverage of tumor sequencing could affect cancer patients.

SOURCE

https://www.cancertodaymag.org/Pages/cancer-talk/Paying-for-Tumor-Testing.aspx

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Dr. Elaine Schattner has authored numerous articles on cancer — as a doctor and patient. She is a freelance journalist and former oncologist who lives in New York City. She is writing a book about public attitudes toward cancer.

A life-long patient with scoliosis and other chronic medical conditions, and a history of breast cancer, Elaine’s current interests include physicians’ health, cancer, and medical journalism.

SOURCE

https://www.elaineschattner.com/

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Speaking Up for Patient Preferences in Cancer Treatment Decisions.

Informed consent should include your input.

SOURCE

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-04-15/speaking-up-for-patient-preferences-in-cancer-treatment-decisions

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Breast Cancer, Risk And Women’s Imperfect Choices

SOURCE

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/05/15/184188710/breast-cancer-risk-and-womens-imperfect-choices

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A cancer researchers takes cancer personally: Dr. Tony Blau, who started All4Cure, an online platform for myeloma clinicians and researchers to interact directly with patients to come up with a customer treatment plan.

SOURCE

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus Acts Out: The actress on challenging comedy’s sexism, fighting cancer, and becoming the star of her own show.

SOURCE

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/12/17/julia-louis-dreyfus-acts-out

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Thanks to Wendy Lund, CEO of GCI Health (gcihealth.com)  and her team for compiling part of this list. 

Interoperability, patient matching could be fixed by smartphone apps, RAND says: Patients need quality information. A physician at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences believes that the healthcare community must improve reports by making them more accessible to patients.

SOURCE

https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/interoperability-patient-matching-could-be-fixed-smartphone-apps-rand-says

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Sometimes Patients Simply Need Other Patients: Finding a support community is also getting easier, through resources like the Database of Patients’ Experiences, which houses videos of patients speaking about their experiences

 

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At These Hotels and Spas, Cancer is No Obstacle to Quality Care: A trend among spas and wellness resorts shows the increasing integration of safe wellness treatment options for cancer patients.

SOURCE

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More than half of older Americans have “basic” or “below basic” health literacy. How do you make health care decisions when you don’t even understand what the doctor is saying?

From The New York Times

More than half of older Americans lack the skills to gather and understand medical information. Providers must simplify, researchers say.

Every time her parents pick up a new prescription at a Walgreens in Houston, they follow Duyen Pham-Madden’s standing instructions: Use the iPad she bought for them, log onto FaceTime, hold up the pill bottles for her examination.

Her mother, 79, and father, 77, need numerous medications, but have trouble grasping when and how to take them.

The label may say to take one pill three times a day, but “my dad might take one a day,” said Ms. Pham-Madden, 56, an insurance purchasing agent in Blue Springs, Mo. “Or take three at a time.”

So she interprets the directions for them, also reminding her mother to take the prescribed megadose of vitamin D, for osteoporosis, only weekly, not daily.

Part of their struggle, Ms. Pham-Madden believes, stems from language barriers. The family emigrated from Vietnam in 1975, and while her parents speak and read English, they lack the fluency of native speakers.

But recently, Ms. Pham-Madden said, her father posed a question that anyone grappling with Medicare drug coverage might ask: “What’s the doughnut hole?”

Researchers refer to this type of knowledge as “health literacy,” meaning a person’s ability to obtain and understand the basic information needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Can someone read a pamphlet and then determine how often to undergo a particular medical test? Look at a graph and recognize a normal weight range for her height? Ascertain whether her insurance will cover a certain procedure?

Most American adults — 53 percent — have intermediate health literacy, a national survey found in 2006; they can perform “moderately challenging” activities, like reading denser texts and handling unfamiliar arithmetic.

Just 12 percent rank as “proficient,” the highest category. About a fifth have “basic” health literacy that could cause problems, and 14 percent score “below basic.” Health literacy differs by education level, race, poverty and other factors.

And it varies dramatically by age. While the proportion of adults with intermediate literacy ranges from 53 to 58 percent in other age groups, it falls to 38 percent among those 65 and older. The percentage of older adults with basic or below basic literacy is higher than in any other age group; only 3 percent qualify as proficient.

Why is that? Compared to younger groups, the current generation of “older adults were less likely to go beyond a high school education,” said Jennifer Wolff, a health services researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

Moreover, “as adults age, they’re more likely to experience cognitive impairment,” she pointed out, as well as hearing and vision loss that can affect their comprehension.

Consider the recent experience of a retired 84-year-old teacher. All her life, “she was very detail-oriented” and competent, said her daughter, Deborah Johnson, who lives in Lansing, Mich.

But a neurologist diagnosed mild cognitive impairment last summer and prescribed a drug intended to ameliorate its symptoms. It caused a frightening reaction — personality changes, lethargy, dizziness, sky-high blood pressure.

Ms. Johnson thinks her mother might have overdosed. “She told me she thought, ‘This is going to fix me, and I’ll be O.K. So if I take more pills, I’ll be O.K. faster.’”

Yet health literacy can be particularly crucial for seniors. They’re usually coping with more complicated medical problems, including multiple chronic diseases, an array of drugs, a host of specialists. They have more instructions to decipher, more tests to schedule, more decisions to ponder.

Low health literacy makes those tasks more difficult, with troubling results. Studies indicate that people with low literacy have poorer health at higher cost. They’re less likely to take advantage of preventive tests and immunizations, and more apt to be hospitalized.

It may not help much that future cohorts of older adults will be better educated. “The demands of interacting with the health care system are increasing,” Dr. Wolff said. “Ask any adult child of a parent who’s been hospitalized. The system has gotten increasingly complex.”

That doesn’t mean patients deserve all the blame for misunderstandings and snafus. Rima Rudd, a longtime health literacy researcher at Harvard University, has persistently criticized the communications skills of health institutions and professionals.

“We give people findings and tell them about risk and expect people to make decisions based on those concepts, but we don’t explain them very well,” she said. “Are our forms readable? Are the directions after surgery written coherently? If it’s written in jargon, with confusing words and numbers, you won’t get the gist of it and you won’t get important information.”

A few years ago, Steven Rosen, 64, had spent more than two months at a Chicago hospital after several surgeries. Then a social worker came into his room and told his wife Dorothy, “You have to move him tomorrow to an L.T.A.C.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ms. Rosen recalled saying. “What’s an L.T.A.C.?”

Question: Was she demonstrating inadequate health literacy, or should the social worker have clarified that L.T.A.C.s — long-term acute care hospitals — provide more care than nursing homes for very ill patients?

Aware of such issues, health care organizations are scrambling to try to make information more accessible and intelligible, and to help patients of all ages understand an often bewildering environment.

They’re hiring squadrons of care coordinators and navigators (sometimes too many), and redesigning and rewriting pamphlets and forms. They’re teaching medical students to communicate more clearly and to encourage patients’ questions.

They’re turning to technology, like secure websites where both patients and family members can see test results or ask questions.

“It’s not the silver bullet we hoped for,” said Amy Chesser, a health communications researcher at Wichita State University, pointing out that many patients are reluctant to turn to provider websites. But the potential remains.

For now, though, often the primary health literacy navigators for older people are their adult children, most commonly daughters and daughters-in-law.

“In the best of all worlds, she’d just be the daughter,” Dr. Chesser said. “But we need her to serve other roles — being an advocate, asking a lot of questions of the provider, asking where to go for information, talking about second opinions.”

The current cohort of people over 70 grew up in a more patriarchal medical system and asking fewer questions, Dr. Wolff pointed out. Her research shows that while most seniors manage their own health care, about a third prefer to co-manage with family or close friends, or to delegate health matters to family or doctors.

Duyen Pham-Madden plays the co-managerial role from hundreds of miles away, keeping spreadsheets of her parents’ drugs, compiling lists of questions for doctors’ appointments, texting photos to pharmacists when the pills in a refilled prescription look different from the last batch.

She’d probably score well in health literacy, but “sometimes even I get mixed up,” she said.

What’s the Medicare doughnut hole? “I had to look it up,” she said. Once she did, she wondered, “How do they expect seniors to understand this?”

SOURCE

 

 

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Can Blockchain Technology and Artificial Intelligence Cure What Ails Biomedical Research and Healthcare

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Updated 12/18/2018

In the efforts to reduce healthcare costs, provide increased accessibility of service for patients, and drive biomedical innovations, many healthcare and biotechnology professionals have looked to advances in digital technology to determine the utility of IT to drive and extract greater value from healthcare industry.  Two areas of recent interest have focused how best to use blockchain and artificial intelligence technologies to drive greater efficiencies in our healthcare and biotechnology industries.

More importantly, with the substantial increase in ‘omic data generated both in research as well as in the clinical setting, it has become imperative to develop ways to securely store and disseminate the massive amounts of ‘omic data to various relevant parties (researchers or clinicians), in an efficient manner yet to protect personal privacy and adhere to international regulations.  This is where blockchain technologies may play an important role.

A recent Oncotarget paper by Mamoshina et al. (1) discussed the possibility that next-generation artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies could synergize to accelerate biomedical research and enable patients new tools to control and profit from their personal healthcare data, and assist patients with their healthcare monitoring needs. According to the abstract:

The authors introduce new concepts to appraise and evaluate personal records, including the combination-, time- and relationship value of the data.  They also present a roadmap for a blockchain-enabled decentralized personal health data ecosystem to enable novel approaches for drug discovery, biomarker development, and preventative healthcare.  In this system, blockchain and deep learning technologies would provide the secure and transparent distribution of personal data in a healthcare marketplace, and would also be useful to resolve challenges faced by the regulators and return control over personal data including medical records to the individual.

The review discusses:

  1. Recent achievements in next-generation artificial intelligence
  2. Basic concepts of highly distributed storage systems (HDSS) as a preferred method for medical data storage
  3. Open source blockchain Exonium and its application for healthcare marketplace
  4. A blockchain-based platform allowing patients to have control of their data and manage access
  5. How advances in deep learning can improve data quality, especially in an era of big data

Advances in Artificial Intelligence

  • Integrative analysis of the vast amount of health-associated data from a multitude of large scale global projects has proven to be highly problematic (REF 27), as high quality biomedical data is highly complex and of a heterogeneous nature, which necessitates special preprocessing and analysis.
  • Increased computing processing power and algorithm advances have led to significant advances in machine learning, especially machine learning involving Deep Neural Networks (DNNs), which are able to capture high-level dependencies in healthcare data. Some examples of the uses of DNNs are:
  1. Prediction of drug properties(2, 3) and toxicities(4)
  2. Biomarker development (5)
  3. Cancer diagnosis (6)
  4. First FDA approved system based on deep learning Arterys Cardio DL
  • Other promising systems of deep learning include:
    • Generative Adversarial Networks (https://arxiv.org/abs/1406.2661): requires good datasets for extensive training but has been used to determine tumor growth inhibition capabilities of various molecules (7)
    • Recurrent neural Networks (RNN): Originally made for sequence analysis, RNN has proved useful in analyzing text and time-series data, and thus would be very useful for electronic record analysis. Has also been useful in predicting blood glucose levels of Type I diabetic patients using data obtained from continuous glucose monitoring devices (8)
    • Transfer Learning: focused on translating information learned on one domain or larger dataset to another, smaller domain. Meant to reduce the dependence on large training datasets that RNN, GAN, and DNN require.  Biomedical imaging datasets are an example of use of transfer learning.
    • One and Zero-Shot Learning: retains ability to work with restricted datasets like transfer learning. One shot learning aimed to recognize new data points based on a few examples from the training set while zero-shot learning aims to recognize new object without seeing the examples of those instances within the training set.

Highly Distributed Storage Systems (HDSS)

The explosion in data generation has necessitated the development of better systems for data storage and handling. HDSS systems need to be reliable, accessible, scalable, and affordable.  This involves storing data in different nodes and the data stored in these nodes are replicated which makes access rapid. However data consistency and affordability are big challenges.

Blockchain is a distributed database used to maintain a growing list of records, in which records are divided into blocks, locked together by a crytosecurity algorithm(s) to maintain consistency of data.  Each record in the block contains a timestamp and a link to the previous block in the chain.  Blockchain is a distributed ledger of blocks meaning it is owned and shared and accessible to everyone.  This allows a verifiable, secure, and consistent history of a record of events.

Data Privacy and Regulatory Issues

The establishment of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996 has provided much needed regulatory guidance and framework for clinicians and all concerned parties within the healthcare and health data chain.  The HIPAA act has already provided much needed guidance for the latest technologies impacting healthcare, most notably the use of social media and mobile communications (discussed in this article  Can Mobile Health Apps Improve Oral-Chemotherapy Adherence? The Benefit of Gamification.).  The advent of blockchain technology in healthcare offers its own unique challenges however HIPAA offers a basis for developing a regulatory framework in this regard.  The special standards regarding electronic data transfer are explained in HIPAA’s Privacy Rule, which regulates how certain entities (covered entities) use and disclose individual identifiable health information (Protected Health Information PHI), and protects the transfer of such information over any medium or electronic data format. However, some of the benefits of blockchain which may revolutionize the healthcare system may be in direct contradiction with HIPAA rules as outlined below:

Issues of Privacy Specific In Use of Blockchain to Distribute Health Data

  • Blockchain was designed as a distributed database, maintained by multiple independent parties, and decentralized
  • Linkage timestamping; although useful in time dependent data, proof that third parties have not been in the process would have to be established including accountability measures
  • Blockchain uses a consensus algorithm even though end users may have their own privacy key
  • Applied cryptography measures and routines are used to decentralize authentication (publicly available)
  • Blockchain users are divided into three main categories: 1) maintainers of blockchain infrastructure, 2) external auditors who store a replica of the blockchain 3) end users or clients and may have access to a relatively small portion of a blockchain but their software may use cryptographic proofs to verify authenticity of data.

 

YouTube video on How #Blockchain Will Transform Healthcare in 25 Years (please click below)

 

 

In Big Data for Better Outcomes, BigData@Heart, DO->IT, EHDN, the EU data Consortia, and yes, even concepts like pay for performance, Richard Bergström has had a hand in their creation. The former Director General of EFPIA, and now the head of health both at SICPA and their joint venture blockchain company Guardtime, Richard is always ahead of the curve. In fact, he’s usually the one who makes the curve in the first place.

 

 

 

Please click on the following link for a podcast on Big Data, Blockchain and Pharma/Healthcare by Richard Bergström:

References

  1. Mamoshina, P., Ojomoko, L., Yanovich, Y., Ostrovski, A., Botezatu, A., Prikhodko, P., Izumchenko, E., Aliper, A., Romantsov, K., Zhebrak, A., Ogu, I. O., and Zhavoronkov, A. (2018) Converging blockchain and next-generation artificial intelligence technologies to decentralize and accelerate biomedical research and healthcare, Oncotarget 9, 5665-5690.
  2. Aliper, A., Plis, S., Artemov, A., Ulloa, A., Mamoshina, P., and Zhavoronkov, A. (2016) Deep Learning Applications for Predicting Pharmacological Properties of Drugs and Drug Repurposing Using Transcriptomic Data, Molecular pharmaceutics 13, 2524-2530.
  3. Wen, M., Zhang, Z., Niu, S., Sha, H., Yang, R., Yun, Y., and Lu, H. (2017) Deep-Learning-Based Drug-Target Interaction Prediction, Journal of proteome research 16, 1401-1409.
  4. Gao, M., Igata, H., Takeuchi, A., Sato, K., and Ikegaya, Y. (2017) Machine learning-based prediction of adverse drug effects: An example of seizure-inducing compounds, Journal of pharmacological sciences 133, 70-78.
  5. Putin, E., Mamoshina, P., Aliper, A., Korzinkin, M., Moskalev, A., Kolosov, A., Ostrovskiy, A., Cantor, C., Vijg, J., and Zhavoronkov, A. (2016) Deep biomarkers of human aging: Application of deep neural networks to biomarker development, Aging 8, 1021-1033.
  6. Vandenberghe, M. E., Scott, M. L., Scorer, P. W., Soderberg, M., Balcerzak, D., and Barker, C. (2017) Relevance of deep learning to facilitate the diagnosis of HER2 status in breast cancer, Scientific reports 7, 45938.
  7. Kadurin, A., Nikolenko, S., Khrabrov, K., Aliper, A., and Zhavoronkov, A. (2017) druGAN: An Advanced Generative Adversarial Autoencoder Model for de Novo Generation of New Molecules with Desired Molecular Properties in Silico, Molecular pharmaceutics 14, 3098-3104.
  8. Ordonez, F. J., and Roggen, D. (2016) Deep Convolutional and LSTM Recurrent Neural Networks for Multimodal Wearable Activity Recognition, Sensors (Basel) 16.

Articles from clinicalinformaticsnews.com

Healthcare Organizations Form Synaptic Health Alliance, Explore Blockchain’s Impact On Data Quality

From http://www.clinicalinformaticsnews.com/2018/12/05/healthcare-organizations-form-synaptic-health-alliance-explore-blockchains-impact-on-data-quality.aspx

By Benjamin Ross

December 5, 2018 | The boom of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies have inspired healthcare organizations to test the capabilities of their data. Quest Diagnostics, in partnership with Humana, MultiPlan, and UnitedHealth Group’s Optum and UnitedHealthcare, have launched a pilot program that applies blockchain technology to improve data quality and reduce administrative costs associated with changes to healthcare provider demographic data.

The collective body, called Synaptic Health Alliance, explores how blockchain can keep only the most current healthcare provider information available in health plan provider directories. The alliance plans to share their progress in the first half of 2019.

Providing consumers looking for care with accurate information when they need it is essential to a high-functioning overall healthcare system, Jason O’Meara, Senior Director of Architecture at Quest Diagnostics, told Clinical Informatics News in an email interview.

“We were intentional about calling ourselves an alliance as it speaks to the shared interest in improving health care through better, collaborative use of an innovative technology,” O’Meara wrote. “Our large collective dataset and national footprints enable us to prove the value of data sharing across company lines, which has been limited in healthcare to date.”

O’Meara said Quest Diagnostics has been investing time and resources the past year or two in understanding blockchain, its ability to drive purpose within the healthcare industry, and how to leverage it for business value.

“Many health care and life science organizations have cast an eye toward blockchain’s potential to inform their digital strategies,” O’Meara said. “We recognize it takes time to learn how to leverage a new technology. We started exploring the technology in early 2017, but we quickly recognized the technology’s value is in its application to business to business use cases: to help transparently share information, automate mutually-beneficial processes and audit interactions.”

Quest began discussing the potential for an alliance with the four other companies a year ago, O’Meara said. Each company shared traits that would allow them to prove the value of data sharing across company lines.

“While we have different perspectives, each member has deep expertise in healthcare technology, a collaborative culture, and desire to continuously improve the patient/customer experience,” said O’Meara. “We also recognize the value of technology in driving efficiencies and quality.”

Following its initial launch in April, Synaptic Health Alliance is deploying a multi-company, multi-site, permissioned blockchain. According to a whitepaper published by Synaptic Health, the choice to use a permissioned blockchain rather than an anonymous one is crucial to the alliance’s success.

“This is a more effective approach, consistent with enterprise blockchains,” an alliance representative wrote. “Each Alliance member has the flexibility to deploy its nodes based on its enterprise requirements. Some members have elected to deploy their nodes within their own data centers, while others are using secured public cloud services such as AWS and Azure. This level of flexibility is key to growing the Alliance blockchain network.”

As the pilot moves forward, O’Meara says the Alliance plans to open ability to other organizations. Earlier this week Aetna and Ascension announced they joined the project.

“I am personally excited by the amount of cross-company collaboration facilitated by this project,” O’Meara says. “We have already learned so much from each other and are using that knowledge to really move the needle on improving healthcare.”

 

US Health And Human Services Looks To Blockchain To Manage Unstructured Data

http://www.clinicalinformaticsnews.com/2018/11/29/us-health-and-human-services-looks-to-blockchain-to-manage-unstructured-data.aspx

By Benjamin Ross

November 29, 2018 | The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making waves in the blockchain space. The agency’s Division of Acquisition (DA) has developed a new system, called Accelerate, which gives acquisition teams detailed information on pricing, terms, and conditions across HHS in real-time. The department’s Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Jose Arrieta, gave a presentation and live demo of the blockchain-enabled system at the Distributed: Health event earlier this month in Nashville, Tennessee.

Accelerate is still in the prototype phase, Arrieta said, with hopes that the new system will be deployed at the end of the fiscal year.

HHS spends around $25 billion a year in contracts, Arrieta said. That’s 100,000 contracts a year with over one million pages of unstructured data managed through 45 different systems. Arrieta and his team wanted to modernize the system.

“But if you’re going to change the way a workforce of 20,000 people do business, you have to think your way through how you’re going to do that,” said Arrieta. “We didn’t disrupt the existing systems: we cannibalized them.”

The cannibalization process resulted in Accelerate. According to Arrieta, the system functions by creating a record of data rather than storing it, leveraging machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotic process automation (RPA), all through blockchain data.

“We’re using that data record as a mechanism to redesign the way we deliver services through micro-services strategies,” Arrieta said. “Why is that important? Because if you have a single application or data use that interfaces with 55 other applications in your business network, it becomes very expensive to make changes to one of the 55 applications.”

Accelerate distributes the data to the workforce, making it available to them one business process at a time.

“We’re building those business processes without disrupting the existing systems,” said Arrieta, and that’s key. “We’re not shutting off those systems. We’re using human-centered design sessions to rebuild value exchange off of that data.”

The first application for the system, Arrieta said, can be compared to department stores price-matching their online competitors.

It takes the HHS close to a month to collect the amalgamation of data from existing system, whether that be terms and conditions that drive certain price points, or software licenses.

“The micro-service we built actually analyzes that data, and provides that information to you within one second,” said Arrieta. “This is distributed to the workforce, to the 5,000 people that do the contracting, to the 15,000 people that actually run the programs at [HHS].”

This simple micro-service is replicated on every node related to HHS’s internal workforce. If somebody wants to change the algorithm to fit their needs, they can do that in a distributed manner.

Arrieta hopes to use Accelerate to save researchers money at the point of purchase. The program uses blockchain to simplify the process of acquisition.

“How many of you work with the federal government?” Arrieta asked the audience. “Do you get sick of reentering the same information over and over again? Every single business opportunity you apply for, you have to resubmit your financial information. You constantly have to check for validation and verification, constantly have to resubmit capabilities.”

Wouldn’t it be better to have historical notes available for each transaction? said Arrieta. This would allow clinical researchers to be able to focus on “the things they’re really good at,” instead of red tape.

“If we had the top cancer researcher in the world, would you really want her spending her time learning about federal regulations as to how to spend money, or do you want her trying to solve cancer?” Arrieta said. “What we’re doing is providing that data to the individual in a distributed manner so they can read the information of historical purchases that support activity, and they can focus on the objectives and risks they see as it relates to their programming and their objectives.”

Blockchain also creates transparency among researchers, Arrieta said, which says creates an “uncomfortable reality” in the fact that they have to make a decision regarding data, fundamentally changing value exchange.

“The beauty of our business model is internal investment,” Arrieta said. For instance, the HHS could take all the sepsis data that exists in their system, put it into a distributed ledger, and share it with an external source.

“Maybe that could fuel partnership,” Arrieta said. “I can make data available to researchers in the field in real-time so they can actually test their hypothesis, test their intuition, and test their imagination as it relates to solving real-world problems.”

 

Shivom is creating a genomic data hub to elongate human life with AI

From VentureBeat.com
Blockchain-based genomic data hub platform Shivom recently reached its $35 million hard cap within 15 seconds of opening its main token sale. Shivom received funding from a number of crypto VC funds, including Collinstar, Lateral, and Ironside.

The goal is to create the world’s largest store of genomic data while offering an open web marketplace for patients, data donors, and providers — such as pharmaceutical companies, research organizations, governments, patient-support groups, and insurance companies.

“Disrupting the whole of the health care system as we know it has to be the most exciting use of such large DNA datasets,” Shivom CEO Henry Ines told me. “We’ll be able to stratify patients for better clinical trials, which will help to advance research in precision medicine. This means we will have the ability to make a specific drug for a specific patient based on their DNA markers. And what with the cost of DNA sequencing getting cheaper by the minute, we’ll also be able to sequence individuals sooner, so young children or even newborn babies could be sequenced from birth and treated right away.”

While there are many solutions examining DNA data to explain heritage, intellectual capabilities, health, and fitness, the potential of genomic data has largely yet to be unlocked. A few companies hold the monopoly on genomic data and make sizeable profits from selling it to third parties, usually without sharing the earnings with the data donor. Donors are also not informed if and when their information is shared, nor do they have any guarantee that their data is secure from hackers.

Shivom wants to change that by creating a decentralized platform that will break these monopolies, democratizing the processes of sharing and utilizing the data.

“Overall, large DNA datasets will have the potential to aid in the understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of every disease known to mankind, and could create a future where no diseases exist, or those that do can be cured very easily and quickly,” Ines said. “Imagine that, a world where people do not get sick or are already aware of what future diseases they could fall prey to and so can easily prevent them.”

Shivom’s use of blockchain technology and smart contracts ensures that all genomic data shared on the platform will remain anonymous and secure, while its OmiX token incentivizes users to share their data for monetary gain.

Rise in Population Genomics: Local Government in India Will Use Blockchain to Secure Genetic Data

Blockchain will secure the DNA database for 50 million citizens in the eighth-largest state in India. The government of Andhra Pradesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a German genomics and precision medicine start-up, Shivom, which announced to start the pilot project soon. The move falls in line with a trend for governments turning to population genomics, and at the same time securing the sensitive data through blockchain.

Andhra Pradesh, DNA, and blockchain

Storing sensitive genetic information safely and securely is a big challenge. Shivom builds a genomic data-hub powered by blockchain technology. It aims to connect researchers with DNA data donors thus facilitating medical research and the healthcare industry.

With regards to Andhra Pradesh, the start-up will first launch a trial to determine the viability of their technology for moving from a proactive to a preventive approach in medicine, and towards precision health. “Our partnership with Shivom explores the possibilities of providing an efficient way of diagnostic services to patients of Andhra Pradesh by maintaining the privacy of the individual data through blockchain technologies,” said J A Chowdary, IT Advisor to Chief Minister, Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Other Articles in this Open Access Journal on Digital Health include:

Can Mobile Health Apps Improve Oral-Chemotherapy Adherence? The Benefit of Gamification.

Medical Applications and FDA regulation of Sensor-enabled Mobile Devices: Apple and the Digital Health Devices Market

 

How Social Media, Mobile Are Playing a Bigger Part in Healthcare

 

E-Medical Records Get A Mobile, Open-Sourced Overhaul By White House Health Design Challenge Winners

 

Medcity Converge 2018 Philadelphia: Live Coverage @pharma_BI

 

Digital Health Breakthrough Business Models, June 5, 2018 @BIOConvention, Boston, BCEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

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