We wrap up the final week of August with news of exciting scientific advancements that have the potential to help develop therapies to prevent metastasis formation in cancer patients, successfully target antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and treat Parkinson’s Disease, the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. There are also advancements that better predict disease recurrence and help personalize treatments for triple negative breast cancer, as well as the latest healthcare technology news.
Op-Ed: The brave new world of healthcare data
A long-standing challenge facing the US healthcare system has been the numerous technology platforms used for patient information do not communicate with each other. Fragmented communication among providers, insurers, and patients dramatically increases costs and prevents patients from receiving the best health services. New guidelines and federal interoperability regulations will take effect in January 2021 aimed at giving patients unprecedented access to their healthcare data, and therefore more control over the management of their conditions.
Some bacteria sacrifice themselves to protect their brethren from antibiotics
Scientists have discovered how some cells within a bacterial swarm – when certain types of bacteria band together by the billions and move as one over a solid surface – will sacrifice themselves so that the other cells have a better chance of surviving onslaught by antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria represent a critical problem in medicine because once a bacterium becomes resistant to several types of antibiotic medications, it becomes incredibly difficult to treat infections. By understanding one of the mechanisms by which these hard-to-kill swarms survive contact with antibiotics, scientists may be able to target that process with therapeutic drugs.
Survey reveals Britains welcome shift to virtual healthcare
A new survey of oncology, cardiology, and immunology patients in the UK revealed they have embraced the sudden switch to virtual healthcare and communications as a result of COVID-19. A strong majority reported that the quality of care was as good or better than before the global pandemic, and a majority of British patients expressed the desire to continue using technology more for communicating with healthcare providers and managing conditions based on their recent experiences.
Researchers discover new information on the regulation of cancer cell motility
Researchers have obtained new information on how PIM kinases - enzymes that promote metastatic growth and spread of cancer cells – enhance cancer cell motility by regulating the formation of actin fibers in the cytoskeleton. The development of PIM-targeted therapies to prevent metastasis formation is critical for the survival of cancer patients, whether the cancer cells remain in their primary location or start migrating around the body to form metastases into bones and other vital organs.
Unique protein structures could hold the key to treatment for Parkinson's disease
Scientists in the UK have discovered a series of protein structures that are thought to be highly relevant to the onset of Parkinson's disease. It is hoped that further analysis of these structures will open up a new avenue for potential treatment for the disease, which is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, with no cure currently available.
Blood-Based Biomarkers Are Reliable Predictors of Disease Recurrence in Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Recent findings show that the presence of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the plasma of women’s blood who have been treated with chemotherapy prior to their surgery for triple negative breast (TNB) cancer are major indicators for disease recurrence. This is a significant scientific advancement that better predicts disease recurrence and will help personalize treatments for patients who battle the residual disease.