Precision Medicine Update

With so many genetic illness’s out there, many wonder why some with the illness such as Alzheimer’s can survive up to twenty five years with the illness, while others die within five years from the same illness. President Obama and the National Cancer Institute are willing to spend $70 million in order to fulfill the total of $215 million needed to fund the research. Dr. Green explained, “Everyone with every disease wants to do this, is is the Type 2 diabetes that results in the loss of a limb the same disease as the one that is easily controlled with diet? Right now, we lump them together.” The New York Times have spoken how people with the illness and how they all agree funding needs to happen for this issue.

“The first, with breast cancer, would today have her tumor analyzed to determine which drugs would probably work against it. She might also have genetic tests to reveal whether she had a risky gene mutation. The second patient, not so lucky, would have Type 2 diabetes, “an imprecise category,” the report said. “No concrete molecular information is available to customize Patient 2’s therapy to reduce his risk for kidney failure,blindness or other diabetes-related complications. No tests are available to measure risk of diabetes for his siblings and children.” The Times spoke about how spending this money could potentially decrease the amount of disease we see in the country based solely on understanding why some illness’s work slowly on some individuals and run so rapidly on some individuals.

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Potential Ebola Vaccine

Dr. James Crowe of Vanderbilt University has been on an extensive search to find, and extract blood from patients who have overcome the Ebola virus.

Dr. Crowe plans to use this blood he extracts to break down the proteins and see exactly what goes into making the virus so deadly, and ways to use this information to potentially come up with a treatment. This fight against Ebola is a world wide fight, the virus has already claimed over 7,000 lives and infected countless others.portrait

The goal of this research is to successfully extract the antibodies from the blood. Dr. Crowe has had a difficult time the past two years finding an applicable sample since many people with the virus have passed away or are located in Africa and suffer from other virus’s and diseases disqualify them from the sample pool. Fortunately for the sake of the research, Dr. Crowe was able to find a participant, Dr. Sacra who was infected with the virus while helping out earlier this year. “They can take antibodies they find in my blood and map them out,” Sacra said in an interview. “They are looking for the ones that are most important in neutralizing the virus.

Many scientists and doctors are behind and back the research of  Dr. Crowe, they believe this is a great step in helping get rid of Ebola. Although this is an uphill battle, fighting the virus with the virus seems like the best way to find the vaccine. According to Dr. Crowe, they are working day and night to analyze the blood from Dr. Sacra in hopes to come up with a vaccine as soon as possible.

Hopes are that clinical trials for the vaccine, when completed will begin early to mid 2015. This is a very promising and hopeful expected date for trials considering how recently Dr. Crowe received his sample from Dr. Sacra. According to Crowe, “The antibodies he is working on would be produced in both cell lines and tobacco plants. Vanderbilt will license the most promising drug candidates, and at least four commercial partners, including Mapp, are considering whether to license them.”

For more information regarding Dr. Crowe’s research, please visit CBCarticles for updates.

Malaria Back In Venezuela

Experts are once again worried about malaria back in Venezuela after it had been gone for 50 years.  Mosquitos carrying the disease are affecting people from jungles to urban areas and experts are worried that it will take over two years to reverse the problem, a The Guardian article states.

scottfiller_venezuelaThis is worrisome after Venezuela declared itself malaria-free back in the 1960s.  During the 1950s, the country worked tirelessly for a decade and made the country malaria-free through educational campaigns, DDT spraying, and improving housing and sewage systems.  Most residents believe there is a stronger issue at hand.  A health minister from Miranda thinks that the largest obstacle will be the government teaming up with public and private health sectors to eliminate the problem. 

Jesus Javier Parra, a construction worker who lives in Quilombo, which is located less than 30 miles from the capital city of Caracas, was the second confirmed case diagnosed.  While general symptoms take place in between one week and two weeks, Parra had the disease for a month before it was properly diagnosed.  Why so long?  The main reason is because Venezuelans haven’t seen a case of malaria in over 50 years.  Another contributor is that, even though Parra had gone to the doctor beforehand for a fever, they didn’t test for malaria due to Quilombo’s close proximity to an urban area.  One of the doctors stated that, with his symptoms, the initial reaction was to test for tuberculosis and dengue, as Parra’s body was beginning to look “diminished,” but the doctor mentioned that “it never occurred to us” that it could be malaria.

In the same month of Parra’s diagnosis, nearly one dozen of his neighbors went to the doctor with symptoms of malaria and of the 32 reported cases in the state, over half have come from the community of Quilombo, a town with shacks and tin roofs.