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HEALTH CARE NEWS

US Congress extends CHIP, funds opioid crisis response following temporary shutdown

Publish date: February 9, 2018

By 

Gregory Twachtman 

Oncology Practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congress, despite a second shutdown in less than a month, was able to pass a number of financial extenders to fund key health care programs.

The bipartisan spending bill (H.R. 1892), passed in the early morning hours on Feb. 9 by a 71-28 vote in the Senate (16 Republicans and 12 Democrats voted against it, and Sen. John McCain [R-Ariz.] was not present) and a 240-186 vote in the House (67 Republicans and 119 Democrats voted against and 5 representatives did not vote). President Trump signed the bill later that morning.

 

The spending bill and continuing resolution to fund the government through March 23 includes $6 billion to fund treatment for opioid addiction and other mental health issues, $2 billion in additional funding for the National Institutes of Health, and 4 additional years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The additional CHIP funding extends the program for a total of 10 years.

The funding bill also made a technical correction to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track of the Medicare Quality Payment Program. It removes Part B drug reimbursement from the MIPS payment adjustment, so any positive or negative change to physician payments based on the MIPS score will only be applied to physician fee schedule payments.

The bill also repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel created by the Affordable Care Act that would have the power to slash Medicare spending under certain budget circumstances. That board was never convened.

The funding legislation also accelerates closure of the Medicare Part D “donut hole,” the coverage gap in which beneficiaries must pay 100% of medication costs prior to entering catastrophic coverage.

Just over $7 billion was provided for community health centers and Medicare’s therapy caps were repealed.

While the funding bill was written in the Senate with bipartisan input and received bipartisan support, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held up votes over objections to the more than $1 trillion it will add to the nation’s debt, as well as for the fact that there was no opportunity to introduce and vote on amendments, leading to an hours-long government shutdown.

There also were concerns about two issues that could have derailed the vote in the House. Democrats wanted to add language to address immigrants brought to this nation illegally as children, while some Republicans did not want to increase the federal debt. However, there were enough votes to pass the funding legislation.

gtwachtman@frontlinemedcom.com

Improved Capture of Cancer Cells in Blood Could Help Track Disease

Drotumdi O

 Improved Capture of Cancer Cells in Blood Could Help Track Disease     Article ID: 691088  Released: 14-Mar-2018 11:05 AM EDT  Source Newsroom:  University of Wisconsin-Madison    Add to Favorites         more news from this source             Share                  Credit: Michael Poellmann  A version of the CapioCyte technology used in the study, which flows a small amount of a patient's blood through a chamber lined with tumor cell-capturing proteins.           Credit: Michael Poellmann  An illustration of the CTC capture process where cancer cells (in orange) and white blood cells (in white) both begin rolling along sticky proteins mimicking blood vessel walls. Only cancer cells are held firmly in place by CTC-specific antibodies, while normal white blood cells are allowed to keep moving.           Credit: Michael Poellmann  A version of the CapioCyte technology used in the study, which flows a small amount of a patient's blood through a chamber lined with tumor cell-capturing proteins.           Credit: Michael Poellmann  An illustration of the CTC capture process where cancer cells (in orange) and white blood cells (in white) both begin rolling along sticky proteins mimicking blood vessel walls. Only cancer cells are held firmly in place by CTC-specific antibodies, while normal white blood cells are allowed to keep moving.   Prev  Next      MEDIA CONTACT   Available for logged-in reporters only   CITATIONS   Clinical Cancer Research March 15, 2018   CHANNELS   All Journal News ,  Cancer ,  Cell Biology ,  Healthcare   KEYWORDS   Cancer ,  Cells ,  Cell Biology ,  Health         Newswise — MADISON, Wis. — Tumor cells circulating throughout the body in blood vessels have long been feared as harbingers of metastasizing cancer — even though most free-floating cancer cells will not go on to establish a new tumor.  But if these cast-offs could be accurately counted, they could provide an additional way to track treatment or screen for the disease.  New research by University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor of Pharmacy  Seungpyo Hong  and his collaborators builds on several years of work in isolating these circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, by demonstrating improved methods for their capture on clinical samples for the first time. By forcing cancer cells to slow down and developing stronger molecular traps specific to CTCs, researchers were able to identify large numbers of the cells in cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.  The number of CTCs dropped during therapy and subsequently rebounded in those patients that ended up requiring additional treatment — suggesting that this technology could supplement other techniques for tracking the progress of treatment.  Hong and his collaborator Andrew Wang of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine started the company  Capio Biosciences  in 2015 to commercialize the technology, which they term CapioCyte.  The study is published March 15 in the journal  Clinical Cancer Research . In addition to the Hong and Wang groups, collaborators from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Duke University and South Korea’s Yonsei University contributed to the work, which was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.  Scientists have recognized CTCs as potentially useful metrics for tracking a patient’s disease for some time. But the cells are the proverbial needle-in-a-haystack, drowned out by billions of ordinary red blood cells and other cells found in the blood. Developing ways to specifically concentrate and trap CTCs has been technically challenging, with existing technologies only identifying a handful of cells from certain patients.  Hong’s team was inspired by the behavior of CTCs in the blood, which attach themselves to blood vessel walls and begin tumbling along looking for suitable places to invade. This behavior separates them from the oxygen-carrying cells floating by and is mimicked in the CapioCyte technology using an array of sticky proteins that force the CTCs to begin rolling, which slows them down.  The cells are then trapped using a series of three cancer-specific antibodies, proteins that tightly bind and hold onto the CTCs. To make the connection even stronger, the researchers developed a nanoscale structure shaped a little like a tree, with each branch tipped with an antibody. As a cancer cell passes nearby, many individual branches can latch on, increasing the strength of the attachment.  The cell rolling and multi-tipped branches helped the researchers capture an average of 200 CTCs from each milliliter of a patient’s blood, many times the number of cells captured with previous technology. They identified cancer cells in each of 24 patients undergoing treatment for head-and-neck, prostate, rectal or cervical cancer that enrolled in the study.  “The absolute numbers of CTCs don't represent too much because there's too much variation individually, but the more important thing we found was the trend — how the CTC numbers change over time upon treatment. So, for example, we've shown that the CTCs go down when the patients are responding really well to the radiotherapy,” says Hong.  Although the number of cells did not correlate with the stage, and thus severity, of the cancer, the reduction in cells was correlated with successful radiation therapy. In two of the three patients that had recurring or persistent disease, CTC numbers came back up.  “Our data suggest that we have a good chance of making CTCs a predictive biomarker or biomarker for surveillance for at least a few cancers, and that’s always exciting,” says Wang.  “What makes us excited in particular is we can see the direct impact,” says Hong. “As a researcher, if you develop a new technology and it can directly help people, that's going to be the most rewarding experience — it's really exciting.”  ###  —Eric Hamilton, (608) 263-1986, eshamilton@wisc.edu   This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health (grants R01CA182528, R01CA178748, R21CA182322, and U54CA198999) and the National Science Foundation (grant DMR-1409161) as well as intramural research funds from the University of North Carolina Department of Radiation Oncology and UW–Madison School of Pharmacy.          Permalink to this article               COMMENTS  |  COMMENTING POLICY   We recommend   Improved capture of cancer cells could aid in disease tracking   Newswise   Microchip Captures Clusters of Circulating Tumor Cells - NIH Study   Newswise   New Diagnostic Technology May Lead to Individualized Treatments for Prostate Cancer   Newswise   Researchers Create 'Fly Paper' to Capture Circulating Cancer Cells   Newswise   NUS Scientists a Step Closer to Developing Blood Test to Monitor Status of Cancer and Treatment Outcome   Newswise      Vortex Biosciences, BioView Collaborate on Identifying Clinical CTC Biomarkers   360Dx   Namocell, MGH Collaborate on Circulating Tumor Cell Research   360Dx   Circulating tumour cells in early breast cancer   Viswam S Nair et al., The Lancet Oncology   Register now for MedCity INVEST - Premier healthcare investing event in the Midwest   MedCity - INVEST Conference   Share your Insights and Learn How Readers Discover Content   TrendMD, Renew Publishing Consultants   Powered by TrendMD        View All Latest News

Improved Capture of Cancer Cells in Blood Could Help Track Disease

Article ID: 691088

Released: 14-Mar-2018 11:05 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: University of Wisconsin-Madison

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more news from this source

 

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Credit: Michael Poellmann

A version of the CapioCyte technology used in the study, which flows a small amount of a patient's blood through a chamber lined with tumor cell-capturing proteins.

 

Credit: Michael Poellmann

An illustration of the CTC capture process where cancer cells (in orange) and white blood cells (in white) both begin rolling along sticky proteins mimicking blood vessel walls. Only cancer cells are held firmly in place by CTC-specific antibodies, while normal white blood cells are allowed to keep moving.

 

Credit: Michael Poellmann

A version of the CapioCyte technology used in the study, which flows a small amount of a patient's blood through a chamber lined with tumor cell-capturing proteins.

 

Credit: Michael Poellmann

An illustration of the CTC capture process where cancer cells (in orange) and white blood cells (in white) both begin rolling along sticky proteins mimicking blood vessel walls. Only cancer cells are held firmly in place by CTC-specific antibodies, while normal white blood cells are allowed to keep moving.

PrevNext

MEDIA CONTACT

Available for logged-in reporters only

CITATIONS

Clinical Cancer Research March 15, 2018

CHANNELS

All Journal News, Cancer, Cell Biology, Healthcare

KEYWORDS

Cancer, Cells, Cell Biology, Health

 

Newswise — MADISON, Wis. — Tumor cells circulating throughout the body in blood vessels have long been feared as harbingers of metastasizing cancer — even though most free-floating cancer cells will not go on to establish a new tumor.

But if these cast-offs could be accurately counted, they could provide an additional way to track treatment or screen for the disease.

New research by University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor of Pharmacy Seungpyo Hong and his collaborators builds on several years of work in isolating these circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, by demonstrating improved methods for their capture on clinical samples for the first time. By forcing cancer cells to slow down and developing stronger molecular traps specific to CTCs, researchers were able to identify large numbers of the cells in cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

The number of CTCs dropped during therapy and subsequently rebounded in those patients that ended up requiring additional treatment — suggesting that this technology could supplement other techniques for tracking the progress of treatment.

Hong and his collaborator Andrew Wang of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine started the company Capio Biosciences in 2015 to commercialize the technology, which they term CapioCyte.

The study is published March 15 in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. In addition to the Hong and Wang groups, collaborators from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Duke University and South Korea’s Yonsei University contributed to the work, which was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Scientists have recognized CTCs as potentially useful metrics for tracking a patient’s disease for some time. But the cells are the proverbial needle-in-a-haystack, drowned out by billions of ordinary red blood cells and other cells found in the blood. Developing ways to specifically concentrate and trap CTCs has been technically challenging, with existing technologies only identifying a handful of cells from certain patients.

Hong’s team was inspired by the behavior of CTCs in the blood, which attach themselves to blood vessel walls and begin tumbling along looking for suitable places to invade. This behavior separates them from the oxygen-carrying cells floating by and is mimicked in the CapioCyte technology using an array of sticky proteins that force the CTCs to begin rolling, which slows them down.

The cells are then trapped using a series of three cancer-specific antibodies, proteins that tightly bind and hold onto the CTCs. To make the connection even stronger, the researchers developed a nanoscale structure shaped a little like a tree, with each branch tipped with an antibody. As a cancer cell passes nearby, many individual branches can latch on, increasing the strength of the attachment.

The cell rolling and multi-tipped branches helped the researchers capture an average of 200 CTCs from each milliliter of a patient’s blood, many times the number of cells captured with previous technology. They identified cancer cells in each of 24 patients undergoing treatment for head-and-neck, prostate, rectal or cervical cancer that enrolled in the study.

“The absolute numbers of CTCs don't represent too much because there's too much variation individually, but the more important thing we found was the trend — how the CTC numbers change over time upon treatment. So, for example, we've shown that the CTCs go down when the patients are responding really well to the radiotherapy,” says Hong.

Although the number of cells did not correlate with the stage, and thus severity, of the cancer, the reduction in cells was correlated with successful radiation therapy. In two of the three patients that had recurring or persistent disease, CTC numbers came back up.

“Our data suggest that we have a good chance of making CTCs a predictive biomarker or biomarker for surveillance for at least a few cancers, and that’s always exciting,” says Wang.

“What makes us excited in particular is we can see the direct impact,” says Hong. “As a researcher, if you develop a new technology and it can directly help people, that's going to be the most rewarding experience — it's really exciting.”

###

—Eric Hamilton, (608) 263-1986, eshamilton@wisc.edu

This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health (grants R01CA182528, R01CA178748, R21CA182322, and U54CA198999) and the National Science Foundation (grant DMR-1409161) as well as intramural research funds from the University of North Carolina Department of Radiation Oncology and UW–Madison School of Pharmacy.

 

Permalink to this article

 

 

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