Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The erosion of our UK industrial science base - think creatively Pfizer. Where will new medicines come from?
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Pfizer’s bid for AZ - the consequences will impact the industry long term as well as the UK science ecosystem
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Thursday, February 4, 2010
The big issue is where and how will we receive this level of analysis about our disease? Currently our generalist hospitals are not equipped with the people, skills or equipment to make this happen.
I visited the Christie Hospital in Manchester - a dedicated cancer centre with a huge catchment area of new patients each year. Alongside the Christie Hospital, Cancer Research UK has a thriving cancer research institute, The Paterson Institute, which does research of the highest calibre and most impressively with the delivery of future medicines in mind. The University of Manchester is adjacent to the Christie/Paterson site and provides critical access to technologies from their faculties. Working together, those in the Christie Hospital, at the University and in the Paterson Institute (collectively forming the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, MCRC) are trying to identify rapid ways to assess the patient's status and that of their disease. The scientists and clinicians hope that from nothing more than a blood sample they will gain significant information to guide treatment. More drugs coming through company pipelines will be associated with diagnostic and prognostic tests to make treatment more effective and ultimately more affordable (as they will be used when they can be most effective to reduce the disease burden and not when they cannot work). A magnificant building of the Christie Hospital, jointly funded with CRUK, will provide a PhaseI/II unit to ensure UK cancer patients are given access to the newest drugs on trial.
Why does this set up in Manchester excite me? Because it is dedicated to one therapeutic area - Cancer. All the stakeholders can point to the goal of curing cancer and helping their patients. This common interest and integrated skill set between academia and the clinic and NHS has to be how we design the future of our healthcare systems - specialist centres with the ability to use molecular analytical techniques, whole body imaging technology and sophisticated medicines is where there is hope that today's drug R&D research will be sufficiently understood to be used to best effect for us all when we are patients. Well done to CRUK, University of Manchester, the Christie NHS hospital for supporting this integration and collaboration and to Nic Jones who as well as running the Paterson Institute, heads up the MCRC.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Below are a few representative synopses of key themes from the conference.....
A chord was struck by John Abele - co-founder of Boston Scientific who described the lack of collaboration in medicine - he says the word is over-used and in the medical dictionary there is no such word. John has bought the KingBridge centre and turned it into the
Building Collaborative Cultures and Leaders
Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio) advocates treating the "whole patient" who has cancer and is an advocate of chronic regimes of therapy. We saw the power of driving behavioural change for young patients to ensure compliance on longer term therapies ie. following ALL (typically striking young teenagers who strive to get back to normal living and who risk relapse with poor complicance). Video games are showing great promise to influence behaviour - preventing relapse in half of the usual 20% of patients who relapse. David Ornish - frequently on US television talks about the proven impact on our gene expression profile of healthy living and eating - supporting our ability to influence our state of health directly with our lifestyle.
You have to view the wonderful pictures of Peter Menzel and his wife Faith D'Alusio following their round the world trip to photograph families and their food. Peter describes how they will try all diets but amongst the most concerning and stomach churning was beef from the high intensive farming practices of Texas. We are not progressing but regressing....
A key theme is to eat naturally, non-processed foods and to stop eating when you are 80% full and let the food enter your body and give the right signals. The growing obesity epidemic in the world and in particular it the US is a cataclismic disaster for healthcare and future generations' well being.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Let's move to regenerative medicine and stem cell breakthroughs. Daniel Kraft a physician at the Stanford Institute for stem cell biology and regenerative medicine told us the following..........The cutting edge of surgery and regenerative medicine is to build blood vessels, heart valves, bladders and skin - described as relatively simple now - we know how to do it, and are doing it!!! More complex organs such as the liver have more cell types and are highly vascularised structures. Surgeons would rather we receive such organs made predominantly of our own cells.
Imagine this Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenrative Medicine... told us ...take one liver, remove the liver cells to leave a vascular bed and regrow the new host's liver using their own cells around this vasculature. This hasn't been done in man of course, and it still leaves the issue of a foreign tissue vascular bed, but it's amazingly close to pushing organ development and regeneration to another level. These same amazing scientists are working on regenerative capacity of salamander limbs and are asking what stands in the way of humans regenerating their limbs - scar tissue is the answer - so skin science is leading the way here to provide an artificial living layer that prevent the body from scaring and keeps it on the healing and regeneration pathway.
So may highlights and insights but one more thought - Geo-medicine. Our geographical history has a huge impact on our health yet it is unrecorded - what was in the environment where we were growing up, were students and where we have spent our adult lives? Actually so much information is now available about those environments - it's just we don't tie the data into our medical history. There are some intent on changing this - Bill Davenhall, Global marketing manager of Health and Human Service Solutions, ESRI is onto this!! He thinks it will help determine our risk and thus avoid unexpected events like his heart attack without warning nor apparent risk. He also looks to the changing healthcare service contribution of our high street stores like CVS and Walgreen.