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Kevin Thornton
Kevin Thornton
4 min. read

As we move into the final week of February, we look at the latest news stories from around our industry. Stories about the application of gene therapy to cure blindness, the use of the shingles vaccine to reduce stroke risk, the approval by the FDA of yet another new drug to treat migraine, and finally the first trial of robot-assisted, high-precision supermicrosurgery in humans has taken place. Read these and more below…

Gene therapy to halt rare form of sight loss

A new gene therapy has been used to treat patients with a rare inherited eye disorder which causes blindness. The gene therapy is for patients who have retinal dystrophy as a result of inheriting a faulty copy of the RPE65 gene from both parents. The gene is important for providing the pigment that light sensitive cells need to absorb light.

Shingles vaccine may also reduce stroke risk

Shingles is linked to an increased risk of stroke. A new study found that Zoster Vaccine Live, one type of shingles vaccination, may prevent some older adults from having a stroke, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2020. The shingles vaccine appears to reduce stroke risk by about 16% in older adults.

In the Search for New Drugs, the Migraine Field Wins the Day

Based on the results of two recent clinical trials, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an oral small-molecule calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonist, for the acute treatment of migraine. The approval is just one of many recent developments for the treatment of migraine. From the early 1990s until three months ago, we did not have a new acute pharmacologic treatment mechanism for migraine.

WHO Strategy Could Help to Reduce Cervical Cancer Mortality

According to an article published in The Lancet, over the next 10 years, a one-third reduction in the rate of premature mortality from cervical cancer in low-income and lower-middle-income countries is possible. The data presented will help inform the draft WHO global strategy for cervical cancer elimination.

Scientists Develop Machine Learning Algorithms Using EMR Data to Predict Dementia

Information gathered from routine visits to the doctor is enough to accurately predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, according to new research using EMR data.

Artificial intelligence yields drug that halts antibiotic-resistant bacteria

A new deep learning algorithm helped researchers identify a powerful new antibiotic compound that kills many of the world’s most problematic, disease-causing bacterias, including those which have so far been resistant to common antibiotics.

First Robot for Supermicrosurgery, Used for Lymphedema

The first trial of robot-assisted, high-precision supermicrosurgery in humans has shown that the technique is safe for treating breast cancer–related lymphedema. The new device, known as MUSA, was supplied by MicroSure. MUSA allows surgeons to connect tiny vessels, as small as 0.3–0.8 mm across, a technique referred to as supermicrosurgery.

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