Clinical Trial For Cancer Drug Put on Hold After Two Patients Die: Juno Therapeutics, based in Seattle, announced Thursday that the FDA put their clinical trial Rocket on hold after two people died from what appeared to be treatment-related complications. The mid-stage trial was testing a drug candidate for adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. More than 20 people were enrolled. Representatives from Juno believe the deaths may be related to the kind of “preconditioning therapy” the patients received prior to the engineered T-cell infusions. Juno plans to submit their revised clinical trial paperwork to the FDA by the end of the week. (Forbes)
Turns Out the Little Mermaid Didn’t Have Quite the Right Idea: When Ariel decided to move her life above water, her first big change — aside from losing her voice — was that her tail became a pair of legs. But according to a study published in the journal Science this week, that wasn’t really necessary. In fact, the study says, “a tail could have come in handy for a creature learning to walk on land.” The researchers propose that 370 million years ago, when the oceans were filled with creatures and the lands were filled with only a few invertebrates and a lot of plants, fish needed little other than their tails to “propel themselves” as they crawled onto the shore. (The Washington Post)
Study Finds That the Relative Number of Psychiatrists in the Country Dropped 10 Percent in 10 Years: From 2003 to 2013, the number of practicing psychiatrists in the United States dropped from 37,986 to 37,899. Not much, right? Well, once you account for population growth, that drop is actually pretty significant, according to a study published in the July issue of policy journal Health Affairs. In a typical community, that brings the number of practicing psychiatrists per 100,000 residents from 8.2 to 7.4, amounting to a relative decrease of 10 percent. Researchers say that the study shows “finding a psychiatrist is even harder than it was before.” (The Huffington Post)
Welcome To Wellcome: Wellcome Trust announced this week that they will launch a new e-journal website called Wellcome Open Research. The site will allow scholars to publish their work for free, get fast peer reviews, and even submit just datasets if they choose to do so. But this isn’t the first “open-access” medical outlet to hit the Internet, and in the past, and similar websites haven’t done very well. Wellcome’s founders are hoping to prove to the medical community that they are different. (STAT)
National Cancer Institute Grant Funds Research About Breast Cancer Trends in Black Women: The National Cancer Institute is funding a $12-million grant that will study 20,000 black women with breast cancer to determine whether racial disparities affect the likelihood of getting the disease. Across the board, black women are “at a greater risk of dying of breast cancer and of suffering from aggressive subtypes of the disease.” With this grant, researchers hope to finally figure out why. (The New York Times)
Felicia Gans is an editorial intern at MedTech Boston. She will be a senior this fall at Boston University, where she is studying journalism, political science, and computer science. When she's not working, Felicia loves drinking coffee, jamming out to Broadway music, and reading the news.
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