Week in Review: Jan. 27

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

Industry News

Death Rate from Cancer down 20% since 1980, but Clusters of High Mortality Remain

The mortality rate due to cancer is falling nationwide, but worrisome pockets of deadly malignancy persist—and in some places have worsened—in regions throughout the country, according to the first-ever county-by-county analysis of cancer deaths across the United States. The death rate attributed to various types of cancer declined 20% between 1980 and 2014, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. During that time, the number of cancer deaths per 100,000 Americans dropped from 240.2 in 1980 to 192 in 2014. Via LA Times.

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CDC Abruptly Cancels Long-Planned Conference on Climate Change and Health

With little warning or explanation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently canceled a major climate change conference that had been scheduled for next month in Atlanta. The Climate and Health Summit, which had been in the works for months, was intended as a chance for public health officials around the country to learn more about the mounting evidence of the risks to human health posed by the changing climate. But CDC officials abruptly cancelled the conference before President Trump’s inauguration, sending a terse email on January 9 to those who had been scheduled to speak at the event. The message did not explain the reason behind the decision. Via Washington Post.

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Cervical Cancer Taking Deadlier Toll in U.S. Than Had Been Thought

The death rate from cervical cancer in the United States is considerably higher than previously estimated and the disparity in death rates between black women and white women is significantly wider, according to a study published in the journal Cancer. The rate at which black American women are dying from the disease is comparable to that of women in many poor developing nations, researchers reported. What makes the findings especially disturbing, said experts not involved in the research, is that when screening guidelines and follow-up monitoring are pursued, cervical cancer is largely preventable. Via NY Times.

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Health Donors and Drug Makers Offer $500 Million to Control Global Epidemics

Stung by the lack of vaccines to fight the West African Ebola epidemic, a group of prominent donors announced that they had raised almost $500 million for a new partnership to stop epidemics before they spiral out of control. The partnership, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, will initially develop and stockpile vaccines against three known viral threats, and also push the development of technology to brew large amounts of vaccine quickly when new threats, like the Zika virus, arise. With enough money and scientific progress, the strategy could bring a drastic change in the way the world tackles pandemics. Via NY Times.

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Harvard Doctors Just Revealed How Many People Will Die from Repealing Obamacare

Two physicians with decades of experience studying death rates relating to changes in health coverage have concluded that repealing Obamacare is fatal. Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, both professors of public health at the City University of New York’s Hunter College and lecturers in medicine at Harvard Medical School, both agree that even under the most conservative estimates, getting rid of President Obama’s signature health care reform law will result in 43,956 deaths every year. Via US Uncut.

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Mayo Clinic News

Mayo: Dayton Fall Unrelated to Cancer Diagnosis

The Mayo Clinic says Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's fall during his State of the State address was not related to his prostate cancer diagnosis. In a statement, Mayo Clinic spokesman Karl Oestreich says doctors believe Dayton's fainting spell "was situational and related to standing for a long time while giving his speech and possible dehydration." The 69-year-old Democrat was encouraged to stay hydrated. Oestreich also says the governor learned about the cancer during his annual physical exam, and a biopsy last week confirmed the diagnosis. Via ABC News.

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Dr. Kumar on the Safety and Efficacy of Venetoclax in Myeloma

Shaji Kumar, M.D., Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, discussed the safety profile and the survival benefits associated with venetoclax (Venclexta) in the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma. Dr. Kumar describes venetoclax as a generally well-tolerated agent, with most of its associated toxicities including drops in platelet counts, some neutropenia, and some gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea. Each of these toxicities are manageable, he explains, and none reached grade 3 or 4 in severity. This points to venetoclax as a strong potential option for combinatorial regimens. Via OncLive.

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Mayo Researchers Identify Mechanism of Oncogene Action in Lung Cancer

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have identified a genetic promoter of cancer that drives a major form of lung cancer. In a new paper published in Cancer Cell, Mayo Clinic researchers provide genetic evidence that Ect2 drives lung adenocarcinoma tumor formation. “This paper demonstrates, for the first time, that Ect2 is required for tumor formation in vivo and identifies a novel function related to ribosomes for Ect2 in lung adenocarcinoma tumor cells,” says Alan Fields, Ph.D., senior author on the paper. Via Healthcare Business News.

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Should You Get a Genetic Test for Lynch Syndrome?

Lynch syndrome is a condition that's passed down genetically through families. It dramatically increases a person's risk for developing colorectal, uterine, ovarian, stomach, and other cancers during their lifetime. If one parent carries a gene mutation for Lynch syndrome, there's a 50% chance that mutation will be passed on to each child, according to Mayo Clinic. The risk of Lynch syndrome is the same whether the carrier is the mother or father, or the child is a son or daughter. Via Shape.

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Assessment of Comatose Patients through Telemedicine Efforts Shown to Be Reliable

Reliable assessment of comatose patients in intensive care units is critical to the patients’ care. Providers must recognize clinical status changes quickly to undertake proper interventions. But does the provider need to be in the same room as the patient, or can robotic telemedicine be used successfully to complete the assessment? According to a research study conducted at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, published in Telemedicine and e-Health, the answer is yes. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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Gina Chiri-Osmond

Gina Chiri-Osmond is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She manages public relations and media outreach. Gina has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2011. Outside of work, Gina is going for gold in volleyball at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo . . . or at small-town summer festivals.