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Author: AMS Staff

The medications that are thrown away

The medications that are thrown away

Last year, Medicare paid for $725 million worth of expensive medications administered in outpatient clinics — things like chemotherapy drugs — that ended up being discarded, according to new datareleased by the federal government. Why it matters: Although that amount is just 2% of what Medicare paid for those types of infusion drugs, that’s still a “very astonishing amount of waste,” said Rena Conti, a health economist at Boston University who has studied the issue. By the numbers: 10 highly discarded drugs accounted for…

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Breakthrough science provides hope for lupus patients

Breakthrough science provides hope for lupus patients

Today the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) publishes research led by Monash University Professor Eric Morand that offers the first real hope for the treatment of lupus, a disease which affects 1.5 million people in the US and more than 5 million globally, 90% women and for which there is no cure. The results are of an international, three-year, Phase 3 trial of a potential new drug that treats this autoimmune disease (also known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)). Lupus is an…

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FDA approves first-ever vaccine for prevention of Ebola virus

FDA approves first-ever vaccine for prevention of Ebola virus

The US Food and Drug administration has approved for the first time in the United States a vaccine for the prevention of the deadly Ebola virus, the agency announced Thursday.The vaccine, Ervebo, was developed by Merck and protects against Ebola virus disease (EVD) caused by Zaire ebolavirus in people 18 and older, the FDA said in a statement.Cases of EVD in the US are very rare and have generally occurred when people already infected with the virus have traveled into…

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Los Angeles startup uses AI to reduce unnecessary spine surgeries

Los Angeles startup uses AI to reduce unnecessary spine surgeries

Newly formed Theseus AI plans to reduce unnecessary back surgery referrals by providing more objective MRI data to physicians. A Los Angeles-based startup recently struck a licensing deal with the University of California- Los Angeles to create a tool that can analyze spine images to help decide whether patients should be a candidate for surgery. Theseus AI was spun out of research conducted by Dr. Luke Macyszyn, a neurosurgeon at the UCLA spine center. The startup struck an agreement to license the…

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Value-based pricing for gene therapy? Maybe not ready for hemophilia

Value-based pricing for gene therapy? Maybe not ready for hemophilia

ORLANDO — Insurers grappling with the million-dollar-plus costs of gene therapy have touted “value-based” arrangements that allow payment over time or on the basis of patient outcomes. But developers of hemophilia gene therapies believe they won’t be widely subjected to them because the one-time treatments will be offset by long-term savings that could amount to tens of millions of dollars. BioMarin Pharmaceuticals’ hemophilia A gene therapy could be on the market in mid-2020, making the question of how to structure reimbursement…

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Study Identifies Potential New Kidney Cancer Subtypes

Study Identifies Potential New Kidney Cancer Subtypes

A new study has identified at least 3 distinct subtypes of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), a common and often treatment-resistant form of kidney cancer, revealing new information that may inform overall patient survival and response to treatment. Data show that ccRCC accounts for 75% of all kidney cancers, translating to approximately 65,000 new cases annually, according to the study. Currently, there are no effective treatments for cancers that spread beyond the kidney, yet 30% of patients present with…

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ASH: J&J’s Darzalex cuts death risk by 40% in new myeloma patients

ASH: J&J’s Darzalex cuts death risk by 40% in new myeloma patients

Johnson & Johnson hasn’t had problems convincing doctors to use multiple myeloma med Darzalex, which quickly shot to blockbuster status and beyond on the back of some historic approvals. But new “gold standard” data presented Monday could further increase doctors’ confidence in the med, the company says. In a phase 3 study of previously untreated myeloma patients not eligible for stem cell transplants, adding Darzalex (daratumumab) to a combination of melphalan, prednisone and Takeda’s Velcade cut the risk of death by 40%, J&J’s…

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ASH: Bristol-Myers’ CAR-T poised for FDA filing after banishing lymphoma in 53% of patients

ASH: Bristol-Myers’ CAR-T poised for FDA filing after banishing lymphoma in 53% of patients

In a newly unveiled study, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s CAR-T therapy banished tumors in more than half of relapsed blood cancer patients and shrank tumors in nearly three-quarters of them. The treatment, picked up in the company’s $74 billion Celgene buyout, could help patients with large B-cell lymphomas whose disease has worsened despite trying other treatments.  Roche’s Rituxan, in combination with chemotherapy drugs, is the first-line treatment for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). It works for many patients, but some patients…

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ASH: Gilead Sciences touts ‘astounding’ Yescarta survival results at 3 years

ASH: Gilead Sciences touts ‘astounding’ Yescarta survival results at 3 years

ORLANDO, FLORIDA—How long can a single infusion of Gilead Sciences CAR-T drug Yescarta continue helping patients with refractory large B-cell lymphoma? Pretty long, the company showed Saturday. Among patients who had received Yescarta at least three years ago, nearly half—47%—were still alive at a median follow-up of 39.1 months, the Big Biotech’s Kite unit said at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting. Yescarta prolonged patients’ lives by a median 25.8 months in the phase 2 study, called Zuma-1. Those figures…

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Deep learning identifies colorectal cancer tumors with 100 percent accuracy

Deep learning identifies colorectal cancer tumors with 100 percent accuracy

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are using an emerging medical imaging technique with deep learning to diagnose colorectal cancer in real time. In a pilot study, investigators developed a deep learning-based pattern recognition optical coherence tomography (OCT) system that automates image processing and identified tumors with 100 percent accuracy, compared with pathology reports. A paper published in the journal Theranosticscontends that it is the first study to report using OCT combined with deep learning to distinguish healthy colorectal tissue…

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