The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.
Hacking Natural Development
Researchers from UCSF have found a new method of producing human tissues without compromising the complexity of the structure. The technique is called DNA-programmed assembly of cells (DPAC) and it involves patterning ells with fibers that causes them to coil and fold into their intended shape.
This is similar to how cells would naturally form into tissues during development. Previous methods to creating tissues involved 3D printing, which though promising, often lacks the complexity of real human tissue.
Opioid Deaths Will Fall in New England, But Why?
Two weeks ago, I wrote about America’s Health Rankings which revealed the mortality rate in the U.S. had risen once again. Many are pointing to the surge in deaths due to opioids as the reason for the jump, which has become the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
However, New England is projected to have 10 percent less deaths in 2017. Several factors likely contributed but the availability of naloxone (an overdose reversal drug) and tight prescription laws are being cited as possible reasons for the drop.
The Private Sector and Interoperability
Typically, the discussion about interoperability is centered around policy but for the first time, the sector’s biggest stories this year mostly came from the private sector. Unsurprisingly, Cerner was a big player and made headlines due to its deal with the VA. The company’s Zane Burke shared his perspective on the topic at HIMSS17.
“It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to do it. It takes significant focus to be both open and interoperable,” Burke shared.
Catch up on the rest of the interoperability developments from 2017 here.
A Better Flu Vaccine
Currently, the influenza vaccine changes year to year, but a researcher at the University of Washington is working to develop a more long term vaccine.
The vaccine is built from influenza DNA and instead of acting as a repellent, this version seeks out infected cells and kills them. This part of the virus does not change from year to year meaning the vaccine would not need to change either.
Precision Should Extend to Quality
The field of precision medicine has expanded significantly over the past year. Unfortunately as it grows, problems are arising. I spoke previously about the supply chain issue with deactivated viruses, and now NPR has reported that there are quality control issues with the treatment as well.
The quality of patient samples can get impacted in its travel to and from the lab, and there are also discrepancies between the machines used to analyze the samples and patients’ EHRs.
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