New Blood Test Offers Hope to Advanced Lung Cancer Patients

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Dr. Luis Raez, Chief Scientific Officer and Medical Director, Memorial Cancer Institute/Memorial Health Care System in Pembroke Pines, Florida, discusses a new blood test from Guardant Health that is the first FDA-approved comprehensive liquid biopsy. He talks about how it makes it easier to test lung cancer patients, and why comprehensive genomic profiling and biomarker testing is crucial for all cancer patients before starting treatment. He is joined by his patient Lynn Spadaccini who had learned she had stage 4 lung cancer and has benefitted from liquid biopsy and targeted treatment.

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First Annual Thyroid Eye Disease Awareness Week

Returning guest, Dr. Gary Lelli, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medical College discusses the first annual Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) Awareness Week (Nov 16 – 20, 2020) that aimed to advocate for awareness and education for this serious, progressive and vision-threatening rare autoimmune disease, which in certain cases, can lead to blindness.  Throughout the week, patients and caregivers were invited to tune into”TED Today”, a daily digital morning show hosted on the Listen To Your Eyes Facebook page featuring TED Specialists, patients and advocacy organizations to teach, inspire and create community among those living with or caring for someone tackling this rare disease. The five-episode series featured interviews from different TED perspectives, from patients and caregivers to ophthalmologists and mental health specialists.

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Delayed Primary Care Visits and Heart Health – No Time To Wait Campaign

Dr. Andrea Russo, MD, Director of Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Services at Cooper University Hospital discusses the 50% decrease in in-person primary care visits, since COVID-19 according to a report from the IQVIA National Disease and Therapeutic Index.  She talks about how this makes delays in the diagnosis of serious conditions like atrial fibrillation (AFib), deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and how important it is to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare provider.   There is a new campaign that seeks to bridge the gap in these critical diagnoses called “No Time To Wait“.

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Aromatic L-Amino Acid Decarboxylase (AADC) Deficiency

Dr. Irina Anselm, MD, Director of the Mitochondrial Program and Co-Director of the Neurometabolic Program at Boston Children’s Hospital discusses the ultra rare brain disorder of aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency, the symptoms, and disease burden.  Patients with severe AADC deficiency have a high risk of death during childhood and there are currently no approved therapies that address the underlying cause.  She talks about her work with families coping with AADC and the importance of the AADC Awareness Day, October 23, that shares resources to help families who face this devastating disease. Massachusetts will be the first state to sign a proclamation to officially declare this as an awareness day.

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COVID-19 vs Flu vs Allergies – New Project Addresses Respiratory Health in Black American Communities

Dr. LeRoy Graham, MD, Founder and Medical Director of Not One More Life Asthma Care Program discusses a new project to address health disparities among people of color. The Not One More LifeTrusted Messengers project, a partnership among the Allergy & Asthma Network, Self Care Catalysts and global pharmaceutical company Sanofi, aims to address the factors that make the burden of COVID-19 unequal and empower Black Americans with the information and tools they need to take charge of their respiratory health, including a 16-week digital personalized intervention program for high-risk individuals.

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Quest Diagnostics – Illicit Drug Use and COVID-19

Dr. Harvey Kaufman, Senior Medical Director and head of the Health Trends™ Research Program at Quest Diagnostics discusses a recent study of the skyrocketing increase in the use of heroin and fentanyl as well as dangerous drug combining during the onset of the pandemic.  He talks about how the decrease in urine drug testing at the onset of pandemic has contributed to the disturbing increase in addiction and fatal overdoses and what could be contributing to these trends, including the impact that the prolonged delay in elective care has had on the substance use disorders and recovery community. 

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Exaggerated Animal Study Results

Dr. Jarrod Bailey, Director of Science and Technology at the Center for Contemporary Sciences discusses a new peer-reviewed report in “BMJ – Open Science” that illustrates the exaggerated results of biomedical studies using animals.The report looked at 27 examples of animal research that were highly publicized in the UK national media in 1995, and which were claimed to provide a “breakthrough” for human health. Each study was followed up more than 20 years later to determine if any actual human benefit had transpired. Only 1 out of the 27 animal studies reviewed for the report resulted in actual benefit to humans.

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STELARA® Phase 3 UNIFI Study – Ulcerative Colitis

Returning guest, Dr. William Sandborn, Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at UC San Diego Health, discusses recent data from the Phase 3 UNIFI study evaluating the safety and efficacy of Janssen’s STELARA® (ustekinumab) as a maintenance therapy in patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis who previously failed biologic or conventional therapy. The long-term extension study out to two years, includes an abstract showing the effect of treatment on stool frequency and rectal bleeding.  These data were presented at the 2020 American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Annual Meeting.

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