Showing posts with label medicine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label medicine. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Video: VP-Elect Kamala Harris gets Covid-19 Vaccine

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, received their first doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, with the incoming vice president getting her shot on camera as part of efforts to build public trust in the inoculations.

Harris and Emhoff were administered the vaccine at United Medical Center in Washington, D.C., by Patricia Cummings, clinical nurse manager at the hospital.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green becomes the first person to successfully cure cancer

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green has become the first person to successfully cure cancer in mice using laser-activated nanoparticles.

Unlike traditional cancer treatments, Green’s revolutionary and unique nanoparticle technology, which was found to successfully cure cancer after testing on mice within 15 days, does not require chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Green received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to expand her nanoparticle cancer treatment research.

Green’s interest in cancer treatment stems from witnessing the death of her aunt, Ora Lee, who suffered from cancer, and her uncle, General Lee Smith, who also was diagnosed with cancer and experienced the negative side effects of chemotherapy treatment.

Green is, not surprisingly, highly educated. In her pursuit to fight cancer she obtained her bachelor’s degree in physics and optics from Alabama A&M University and later earned her master of science in physics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, both of which she received full scholarships for.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Rep. Lauren Underwood's Lower Insulin Costs Now Act signed into law

The Lower Insulin Costs Now Act will help make cheaper generic insulin available more quickly.

Underwood’s bipartisan Lower Insulin Costs Now Act will reduce the cost of insulin by helping lower-cost, generic insulin become available sooner. The Lower Insulin Costs Now Act will allow the FDA to continue to review applications for generic insulin beyond the looming March 2020 cut-off date, creating access to new treatments that can lower the cost of insulin for those who rely on it to survive. Over 1 million Illinoisans are living with type I or type II diabetes, including one in four seniors and a growing number of children in America. Along with Underwood, the legislation was led by Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Brett Guthrie (KY-02), and Mike Kelly (PA-16).

"Over the past two decades, the cost of insulin has skyrocketed—it’s unaffordable. I've heard from countless families in our community about the hard decisions they make to afford their insulin, including rationing their supply or going without. This is unacceptable—over 7 million Americans rely on insulin to survive," Rep. Underwood said. "There isn’t a person I won’t work with to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and I’m thrilled my colleagues in Congress and the President supported this advancement toward making lower-cost, generic insulin available more quickly."

Sunday, September 30, 2018

National Institutes of Health launches initiative to accelerate therapies to cure sickle cell disease

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced the launch of a new initiative to help speed the development of a cure for sickle cell disease, a group of inherited blood disorders affecting at least 100,000 people in the United States and 20 million worldwide. The Cure Sickle Cell Initiative will take advantage of the latest genetic discoveries and technological advances to move the most promising genetic-based curative therapies safely into clinical trials within five to 10 years.
“Our scientific investments have brought us to a point where we have many tools available to correct or compensate for the defective gene that causes sickle cell disease. We are now ready to use these tools to speed up our quest for a cure,” said Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which is leading the effort.
Sickle cell disease results from a single genetic mutation that causes a person’s red blood cells to form an abnormal, sickle shape. These sickled cells can clog the blood vessels and deprive cells of oxygen. In turn, this lack of oxygen wreaks havoc on the body, damaging organs, causing severe pain, and potentially leading to premature death.
Decades of basic research on sickle cell disease have laid the groundwork for novel genetic approaches to cures, such as the genetic editing of bone marrow cells, which have shown great promise in animal models and in some small-scale human studies. In addition, the NHLBI Production Assistance for Cellular Therapies (PACT) program has been working with researchers to manufacture cellular therapeutic products, including genetically modified cells, that can be used safely in clinical trials with patients.
NIH spends approximately $100 million on sickle cell disease research each year. Through this initiative, NHLBI seeks to support the development of cell and genetic therapies resources, clinical trials, comparator analyses of different management strategies, data repositories and resources, and patient and advocate engagement activities related to curative therapies for this condition. Already in 2018, NHLBI committed an additional $7 million to jumpstart the initiative’s research and engagement infrastructure.
NHLBI has named hematologist Edward J. Benz Jr., M.D., President and CEO Emeritus of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as the Initiative’s executive director, and the Emmes Corporation, a contract research organization with specialized expertise in clinical trials, gene, and cell therapy development in preclinical studies, as its coordinating center.
The initiative and other research partners will establish a national data warehouse of genetic therapies for sickle cell disease and conduct comparative analyses of therapeutic approaches to assess both clinical and cost-effectiveness. They will also establish national networks to make it easier for patients and providers to learn and engage with the research, clinical trials, and other activities happening across the country.
“The engagement of patients will be a cornerstone of this effort,” said Benz. “Patients will work alongside researchers in developing and recruiting for clinical trials.”
Currently, the only cure for sickle cell disease is a bone marrow transplant, a procedure in which a sick patient receives bone marrow from a healthy, genetically-compatible sibling donor. However, transplants are too risky for many adults, and only about 18 percent of children with the sickle cell disease have a healthy, matched sibling donor.
The Cure Sickle Cell Initiative seeks to develop cures for a far broader group of individuals with the disease, and it is initially focusing on gene therapies that modify the patient’s own hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which make red and other blood cells. These modified HSCs can then be given back to the patient via a bone marrow transplant, making a cure available to more patients who lack a matched donor.
“This initiative is giving patients, families, and communities a reason for hope. I’m particularly pleased that we are able to make this announcement during Sickle Cell Awareness month when we are shining a spotlight on the toll of this devastating disease,” said ADM Brett Giroir, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
This patient-focused Initiative builds on the legacy of NHLBI-supported research that has contributed to improving clinical care for patients who have sickle cell disease. It also complements the Institute’s broader sickle cell disease research investment, which includes basic, clinical, translational, and implementation science research.

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit
NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Tuskegee University develops new breast cancer test

A team led by Tuskegee University researchers have developed a new way to detect the most aggressive and fatal form of breast cancer.

The university and researchers hope the new method may hold the potential for earlier detection and more informed treatment decisions.

The breakthrough was detailed in an article in PLOS ONE,a publication tied to the Public Library of Science. The article, “AR Negative Triple Negative or ‘Quadruple Negative’ Breast Cancers in African-American Women Have an Enriched Basal and Immune Signature,” shows researchers have developed a fourth testing marker to complement the other three biomarker-based methods.

Dr. Clayton Yates, a professor of biology and director of Tuskegee University’s multidisciplinary Center for Biomedical Research, published the team's findings. Support for the research come through the National Cancer Institute’s Comprehensive Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity program, otherwise known as the U54 program.

“Scientifically speaking, our research suggests that the expression of the androgen receptor (the receptor for testosterone), should be added to the current set of prognostic markers — estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 — used to test for classify and determine the aggressiveness of breast cancer,” Yates said.

“As with any fight, you have to know your enemy. Imagine going into battle not knowing if you needed a BB gun, a shotgun, or a bazooka,” Yates said. “With this additional testing option, physicians will be able to better define the enemy and develop a more precise treatment plan. This, in turn, promises to be more effective for the patient — not to mention safer and less expensive — in the long run.”

Breast cancer currently is the second-most common cancer among females. The new testing method shows significant promise for detecting the most aggressive types of breast cancer, especially among black women. Black women are more likely than white women to be diagnosed at later stages in life and are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer after initial diagnosis.

Read more: Tuskegee University develops new breast cancer test

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration Approves Endari, A New Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease

Endari has shown to decrease the number of sickle cell crises and hospitalizations in patients with sickle cell disease. SCD is a rare, debilitating and lifelong hereditary blood disorder that affects approximately 100,000 patients in the U.S. and up to 25 million patients worldwide, the majority of which are of African descent.

Emmaus Life Sciences Inc. announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Endari™ (L-glutamine oral powder) to reduce the severe complications of sickle cell disease (SCD) in adult and pediatric patients age 5 and older. Endari reduces oxidant damage to red blood cells by improving the redox potential of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a coenzyme that has been identified as the primary regulator of oxidation.

"The approval of Endari is a significant milestone for the sickle cell patient community who has not had an advancement in treatment for nearly 20 years and which now, for the first time ever, has a treatment option for children," said Yutaka Niihara, MD, MPH, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Emmaus Life Sciences. "Endari reinforces our commitment to discovering innovative therapies that help to improve the lives of people with rare diseases. We thank the FDA for its prompt review and look forward to making treatment available to patients as early as this fourth quarter."

SCD is a rare, debilitating and lifelong hereditary blood disorder that affects approximately 100,000 patients in the U.S. and up to 25 million patients worldwide, the majority of which are of African descent as well as Latinos and other minority groups. Approximately one in every 365 African American children is born with SCD and children between the ages of 2 and 7 are 400 times more likely to suffer from stroke.

Caused by a genetic mutation in the beta-chain of hemoglobin that distorts red blood cells into crescent shapes, SCD lowers oxygen levels in the blood and has an extensive impact on morbidity, mortality and quality of life. Patients often suffer from debilitating episodes of sickle cell crises, which occur when the rigid, adhesive and inflexible red blood cells block the blood vessels, resulting in excruciating pain. Sickle cell crises can lead to organ damage, stroke, pulmonary complications, and other adverse outcomes, including acute chest syndrome (ACS), which may be potentially fatal and is the leading cause of death among people with SCD.

"A sickle cell crisis is the most common acute complication for patients and the number one cause of emergency room visits," said Wally Smith, MD, Florence Neal Cooper Smith Professor of Sickle Cell Disease, Division of General Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University. "Endari has clinically shown to reduce sickle cell crises and hospitalizations, representing a significant medical advancement for patients with limited therapeutic options that have many side effects."

FDA approval was supported by efficacy data from a 48-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the effects of Endari, prescription grade L-glutamine, as compared to placebo on 230 adults and children with SCD. The results demonstrated that Endari reduced the frequency of sickle cell crises by 25 percent and hospitalizations by 33 percent. Additional findings showed a decrease in cumulative hospital days by 41 percent and lower incidence of ACS by more than 60 percent.

Safety was based on data from 298 patients treated with L-glutamine and 111 patients treated with placebo in the Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies. Endari's safety profile was similar to placebo and well-tolerated in pediatric and adult patients. The most common adverse reactions occurring in greater than 10 percent of patients treated with Endari were constipation, nausea, headache, abdominal pain, cough, pain in extremity, back pain, and chest pain (non-cardiac).

About Emmaus Life Sciences

Emmaus Life Sciences is engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative treatments and therapies for rare diseases. The company's research on sickle cell disease was initiated by Yutaka Niihara, MD, MPH, Chairman and CEO of Emmaus, at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. For more information, please visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, regarding the research, development and potential commercialization of pharmaceutical products. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and involve inherent risks and uncertainties, including factors that could delay, divert or change any of them, and could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from current expectations. Additional risks and uncertainties are described in reports filed by Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Emmaus is providing this information as of the date of this press release and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Emmaus Life Sciences Inc.

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Black Women in Medicine Documentary Coming Soon!

Black Women in Medicine honors Black women doctors around the country who work diligently in all facets of medicine. In telling the stories of women who have persevered in medical fields in part by overcoming barriers linked to race and gender, the film provides audiences with under-represented visions of success and fuel for self-actualization. 
Why Now?

Approximately one in four persons currently living in the U.S. is Black, and the number is steadily increasing. By contrast, Blacks represent only 4% of the physician workforce under 40. The percentage of female minority doctors is even smaller. As minority doctors are more likely to provide care to minority, underserved, and disadvantaged communities, their under-representation is a problem with potentially fatal consequences. Barriers separating youth of color from careers in medicine must be addressed if we are to foster a medical workforce that better reflects the diversity of the society it serves.

Black Women in Medicine amplifies the stories of trailblazing women and brings them within reach of those who most need to hear them. As we follow these stories, we journey through America’s sociopolitical evolutions concerning gender equality and cultural diversification of professions. These narratives tell stories of excellence and perseverance that engage, inspire and motivate, planting seeds of aspiration in the minds of future doctors.  Black Women in Medicine Airs on American Public Television Fall 2016!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Decline in Black Male Physicians Could Impact African American Health

his op-ed post was written by Patricia A. Maryland, Ph.D.

A recent study by the Association of American Medical Colleges shows that the number of African American men applying to medical school is in steady decline. As the nation’s population becomes more ethnically diverse, this issue is not just about diversity for diversity’s sake. This decline in black male physicians could have a negative impact on health and wellness in underserved communities as well as on general access to care.

As the chief operating officer of Ascension Health—the healthcare subsidiary of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system—I am very focused on our organization’s delivering personalized and compassionate care, particularly in low- to moderate-income communities where healthcare challenges are greatest. Physicians of color, who can knowledgeably treat patients based on a shared heritage and cultural awareness, are at a premium.

To be clear, the issue here is not race as much as it is personal affinity that provides a sense of understanding for a patient. In fact, whether the commonality is culture, race, language, or gender, research shows that patients respond to physicians with whom they feel a kinship.

This notion of affinity or kinship is important as studies show that black doctors are usually more willing to return to underserved communities of color to offer care. This not only provides them with a sense of mission and higher purpose, it also contributes to the overall well-being of the patients they serve. These patients are more comfortable with the doctor because they believe that the person caring for them shares a cultural bond. This allows for ease in building trust and, hopefully, greater candor in discussing ailments which may allow the doctor to better assess and treat a patient.

Read more; Decline in Black Male Physicians Could Impact African American Health

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Push to Recruit Black, Latino Nurses

Arihanna Venable enjoys talking with her patients as she performs physical exams, takes their blood pressure and, sometimes administers medicine to help soothe wounds or illnesses.

However, when Venable looks at so many other registered nurses, she finds a glaring and often troubling trend.

“Not many of them look like me,” said Venable, 33, of Southeast. “We just don’t have a lot of black registered nurses and I think if we can somehow change that, a lot of our patients will feel more at ease and they’ll be more likely to come in and see a doctor before they encounter serious health problems.”

Venable counts among the 5.4 percent of African-American nurses in the nation. A small minority, considering there’s an estimated 2.5 million registered nurses in the United States. Latinos also are in the minority as just 3.6 percent hold those positions.

Read more: Push to Recruit Black, Latino Nurses

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Doctors hope to increase awareness of skin cancer risks for African-Americans

Doctors emphasize more than ever how important it is for people to protect their skin from the sun's damaging rays. That's especially true for African Americans. In some cases, melanoma may be even deadlier for those with darker skin.