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Past News Items - January 2012


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In the News

Genomic Health Presents Results Furthering Understanding of Biology of Prostate Cancer at the 2012 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

South Korea Ranked Top in Cancer Survival Rate

Horizon Healthcare Innovations, Duke, Rutgers Launch Nurse Training Collaborative

NeuroScience Foundation Committed To Advancing Alzheimer's Disease Research In 2012




Released: 01/01/12


Genomic Health Presents Results Furthering Understanding of Biology of Prostate Cancer at the 2012 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Genomic Health, Inc. announced on February 3rd results from a large clinical study in prostate cancer evaluating the relationship of microRNAs, a novel class of biomarkers, to clinical outcomes for patients with early-stage prostate cancer.

The data, presented at the 2012 Genitourinary (GU) Cancers Symposium, contribute to a greater understanding of prostate cancer biology by assessing the ability of specific microRNAs and genes to predict aggressive disease as part of the company's prostate cancer research and development program.

"In addition to supporting our development of a genomic prostate cancer assay to improve discrimination of clinically significant from insignificant prostate cancer, this study also demonstrates our innovative approach to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of biomarkers in the context of the known tumor heterogeneity of prostate cancer, one of the critical challenges faced by a biopsy-based clinical test for prostate cancer," said Steven Shak, MD, chief medical officer of Genomic Health. "We remain committed to conducting multiple, well-designed prostate cancer studies in order to expand scientific knowledge about the disease and help physicians deliver better outcomes for their patients."

In the research presented at the 2012 GU Cancers Symposium, investigators analyzed 416 prostate cancers from patients treated with radical prostatectomy (RP) at Cleveland Clinic between 1987 and 2004. Modified RT-PCR methodology was used to assess 76 microRNAs, a distinct class of biological regulators that are very small, averaging about 22 nucleotides in length.

Dr. Klein and the Cleveland Clinic have also recently completed a study evaluating whether the expression of key genes and gene groups previously identified in radical prostatectomy specimens can be similarly predictive of aggressive prostate cancer when assessed in the small tissue volumes found in prostate needle biopsies. These results are planned for presentation at the 2012 American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons meeting in April.

"Treatment decisions for men with localized prostate cancer could be improved with more accurate knowledge at the time of diagnosis for the individual patient, including likelihood of favorable features such as low grade, organ-confined disease or low probability of tumor recurrence," said Eric Klein, MD, chairman of the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic. "These results advance our knowledge about prostate cancer and contribute to a broader effort aimed at the development of an actionable and validated genomic test that could arm physicians with additional information to help inform the patient care plan and allow us to avoid overtreatment of clinically insignificant cancers."

Separately, Genomic Health has initiated a clinical validation study for its prostate cancer test and plans to announce topline results later this year. The ongoing clinical validation study, being performed in collaboration with leading prostate cancer researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is designed to determine if a multi-gene test can help patients with early stage prostate cancer by distinguishing aggressive disease requiring immediate treatment, such as surgery, from indolent disease which may be appropriately managed with active surveillance. The study will utilize Genomic Health's proprietary RT-PCR process for analyzing very small amounts of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) prostate tissue obtained by diagnostic prostate needle biopsy. If positive, the clinical validation study results are expected to support the launch of the Oncotype DX prostate cancer test in 2013.

For more information about Genomic Health, visit genomichealth.com. To learn more about Oncotype DX tests, visit oncotypedx.com or mybreastcancertreatment.org.



South Korea Ranked Top in Cancer Survival Rate

As the whole world battles against cancer, the survival rate of cancer patients in Korea has shown a great improvement. Cancer is still the number one cause of death in Korea, but about half of Korean cancer patients have, in recent times, managed to survive for more than ten years, which illustrates that world class cancer treatments are available in Korea.

The Korean government recently announced that the survival rate of Korean cancer patients had improved from 59.5 percent in 2008 to 62 percent in 2009, while the cancer mortality rate showed a 19 percent decrease in 2006 and a 21 percent decrease in 2008. In addition, the 2011 Health Care Quality Indicators released by OECD member countries indicated that Korea excelled in the treatment of uterine cancer and that its survival rate for stomach cancer, 65.3 percent, well surpassed those of the USA (26 percent), Europe (24.9 percent), Japan (62.1 percent) and Canada (22 percent). In addition, the survival rate from thyroid cancer in Korea is 99.7 percent while that of breast cancer is 90.6 percent.

Similarly, Korean Ministry of Health & Welfare carried out an interim assessment of the '10-Year Plan to Conquer Cancer' and found out that the plan had exceeded its initial objective in 2011. Thus, the Ministry upgraded the survival rate target by 2015 from 54 percent to 67 percent following the deliberation by the National Cancer Management Committee. Cancer survival rate refers to the percentage of people able to survive five years after being diagnosed with and treated for cancer. It actually means the complete recovery rate.

Such excellent survival rates for Korean cancer patients have been due to the continuous efforts of the government to manage cancer and advance the medical technology. Korea has been building its reputation in robot-assisted surgery, a cutting edge cancer treatment technology, which has every year attracted many medical experts from Japan, Taiwan and many other countries to the National Cancer Center to learn the robot-assisted surgical techniques.

Proton therapy at the National Cancer Center is one of the most renowned cancer treatment techniques in Korea. Proton therapy is a type of particle therapy that uses hydrogen ions, which are 1800 times heavier than electrons. Protons accelerated by a cyclotron irradiate a human body containing cancerous tumors in order to destroy the DNA contained by these tumors.



Horizon Healthcare Innovations, Duke, Rutgers Launch Nurse Training Collaborative

Horizon Healthcare Innovations, a subsidiary of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, along with Duke University School of Nursing and Rutgers College of Nursing, announced a collaborative partnership to train at least 200 nurses over the next two years to be Population Care Coordinators throughout primary care practices in New Jersey. Under this first-of-its-kind initiative, nurses will receive a formal, uniquely developed education on this transformative role to support the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Program and other innovative, population-based health programs.

"Together with two esteemed academic institutions, we are creating a new nursing leadership role that will support New Jersey's primary care doctors and deliver improved care to patients,” said Christy Bell, Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Healthcare Innovations. "This is an important step in our collaborative effort to make New Jersey's delivery system more effective, efficient and affordable for Horizon members."

"Duke University School of Nursing is a leader in educating nurses for contemporary issues in health care delivery and the curriculum we have developed to prepare nurse Population Care Coordinators for an expanded role within Horizon Healthcare Innovations is a fine example of that,” said Catherine L. Gilliss, DNSc, RN, FAAN, Dean of Duke University School of Nursing and Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs for Duke University. "The opportunity to work closely with Horizon Healthcare Innovations in support of this care innovation engages the special capacities of Duke to address current and unmet needs of patients with complex care needs."

"This innovative leadership role for nurses is an example of how we are implementing the recommendations from the landmark report: the Institute of Medicine: 'Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health' in New Jersey," said Edna Cadmus, Project Director, and Clinical Professor at Rutgers College of Nursing. "Through this collaborative partnership we are working to shift care delivery from an illness model to one of keeping our citizens healthy, using nurses as the linchpin to analyzing data on high-risk patients and developing coordinated plans of care. These nurses are being given a unique leadership opportunity to contribute to pioneering this new model in the state."

Population Care Coordinators are nurses who work in Primary Care Physician offices, and help improve the coordination of care for patients. Working closely with primary care doctors and care teams, these care coordinators follow up with patients to address their needs, continuously update personalized health plans and help engage and empower patients. Many nurses who complete this new training will be working in new patient care models, such as the PCMH Program. To view a brief video of current Population Care Coordinators, visit http://www.horizonhealthcareinnovations.com/news-media/media-library.

The 12-week course commenced in January with the enrollment of 37 nurses. The collaborative training program is being delivered in an online format supplemented with three intensive face-to-face sessions: one at the Duke campus and two at the Rutgers campus. The final residency will be a capstone experience, integrating coursework with skills learned, to give students a real-world understanding of the Population Care Coordinator role.

The course is focusing on the following skills:

 

  • Case management of patients with complex health conditions
  • Effective engagement and communication strategies with patients
  • Using databases, including disease registries and Electronic Medical Records
  • Coordinating care of patients who are frequently admitted and discharged from care facilities
  • Implementing and managing change in health care organizations
  • Operations of a PCMH
  • Role of Population Care Coordinators in improving patient care and patient experience in a PCMH

 

"The Population Care Coordinator Training Collaborative will help build a sustainable, patient-centric workforce to support the Patient-Centered Medical Home program as it expands throughout New Jersey,” said Richard Popiel, President and Chief Operating Officer of Horizon Healthcare Innovations. "This innovative training program is one example of how we are collaborating with stakeholders to establish a transformed health care system marked by high-quality care, increased patient satisfaction and improved affordability.”

The program steering committee is composed of representatives from Horizon Healthcare Innovations, Duke University School of Nursing and Rutgers College of Nursing. The committee will continuously evaluate the program to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved. This training provides credits toward an advanced nursing degree or for continuing education credits.

For more information on Horizon Healthcare Innovations, please visit www.HorizonHealthcareInnovations.com.



NeuroScience Foundation Committed To Advancing Alzheimer's Disease Research In 2012

In 2011, the National Institute of Health spent more than $6 billion on cancer research, compared to less than $480 million on Alzheimer's disease research. Those numbers do not seem alarming until you learn there are over 5.4 million people in the United States coping with the debilitating disease, a number that is expected to balloon as the baby boomer generation continues to age.

Since the only FDA approved medications on the market merely slow the progression of the disease, the only way to combat these astonishing figures is to fund research geared at halting the progression and eventually reversing the atrophy in the brain completely.

In 2012, the NeuroScience Foundation is committed to fighting this issue with a physician training program. Gwinnett Technical College is pursuing a grant to fund the development of an eventual Clinical Principal Investigators (CPI) certificate program. The program would potentially train local physicians as CPI's, a role crucial in the development and advancement of drugs, therapies and medical devices. Once trained, these physicians will be able to forge a new paradigm and increase the speed and efficiency at which clinical research is conducted.

If you would like more information on the physicians training program or are interested in making a donation to the NeuroScience Foundation to support Alzheimer's disease research here in the Atlanta area, please visit www.nsfoundation.net.

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