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The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), funded the Human Genome Project (HGP) in 1998.  The Human Genome Project is an international research effort to map out the entire human genome.  As of 2012, thousands of human genomes have been completely sequenced.  This is big news for many fields.

This changes "everything in terms of how we approach patients with cancer," says David Spigel, director of lung-cancer research at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, Tenn.  By being able to examine the genetic makeup of the tumor and identifying various alterations, researchers are able to tailor the patient’s drug therapy to the disease.

They are finding that sometimes cancerous tumors are not presenting with the most obvious genetic makeup.  For example, some pancreatic cancers cells are showing alterations associated with breast cancers.  As a result, oncologists will select a chemotherapy shown as effective for breast cancers.  Changing up the treatments to match the tumor so far is yielding better outcomes.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 16:33

Cracking the Cancer Code

One of the puzzling things that cancer researchers have questioned for years is: why doesn’t the body’s immune system recognize cancer cells as invaders and target them for attack?  Our immune system works constantly addressing a wide variety of issues and adapting as need be.  Why do cancer cells get a free pass?  This mystery was recently solved.  Cancerous tumors commandeer the body’s natural ability to put the brakes on the immune system.   
There is good news, though.   Researchers have developed a new category of drugs that are not your typical anticancer drugs.  The new drug, MK3475, doesn’t focus on being destructive but instead triggers a release to the immune system brakes, unleashing an army of immune cells to hunt down the cancer cells.

At a recent genetics conference, an unveiling took place of a device about the size of a cell phone as a first generation DNA sequencing device.  U.K.-based Oxford Nanopore Technologies has not set a launch date, but they have a good track record with their work with virus genomes.  Human genome data is, of course, much larger and complicated, but all indicators are that they have workable device.  And at a reasonable price.  The first sequencing of the human genome was completed in 2003 at a price tag of over $2 billion.  The process was slow, complicated, and not always accurate.  Remember what your cell phone was like in 2003 compared to the smart phone have today.  Remember no unlimited domestic calls.  You purchased a set number of minutes and heaven forbid you had to make a call while you were “roaming”.  I bet roaming is a word you have not used in years.  Recently, my son was sick with the flu.  He was in a self-imposed quarantine in his bedroom.  His brother was in the living room playing a video game online with his sick sibling.  They had a Skype session going to plan their strategy for playing against other players in the online game.  I started to tell him how it was, back in the olden days, when you kept your cell calls short so you didn’t go over your allotted minutes.  But, it was going to sound like one of those, I used to walk 10 miles in the snow uphill….both ways to school stories.  But, I digress.  

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 10:48

If I Only Had A Heart...

Surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital have developed a way to help children born with half a heart to essentially grow a whole one-by marshaling the body's natural capacity to heal and develop.

About 1,000 babies are born in the U.S. each year with a condition called hypoplastic left-heart syndrome, the result of a genetic anomaly that leaves them without a functioning left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber. Without a surgical repair, the defect is almost always fatal.

One of the major problems is that hypoplastic left-heart syndrome is often not diagnosed until the delivery of the baby. Prior to delivery, the child is relying on the mom for oxygen and nutrition. This, of course, all changes at delivery and the switch made from mom providing these necessary items to relying on these being taken in as you and I do. There are also features found in the fetal heart such as the atrial septal defect and the ductus arteriosus that normally close in early infancy. When this happens in an infant with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome, the weak underdeveloped left side of the heart is not able to bear the burden. As mentioned before, fatal and swift management of the condition is required. Classically, this condition requires three or more open heart surgeries and even so, in most cases, the child will have after-effects that never afford them a normal life or lifestyle.

In the wake of the massive data breach at retail giants Target and Neiman Marcus, medical professionals and patients should likely be thinking about identity theft and the safety of their healthcare information.  

Medical identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America and accounts for $30 billion dollars annually.  The threat is real. Its impact can be a minor inconvenience all the way to legal issues, financial destruction, and even death.  Scared yet?  You should be.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014 12:37

iDoctor: Digital Doctoring

Digital health just made prime-time – the intersection of medicine and technology is coming to the world of medicine near you.     Yes, when Dr. Eric Topol, a pioneering geneticist, cardiologist, and chief academic officer of San Diego-based Scripps Health recently appeared on NBC’s Rock Center, he introduced a number of “digital doctoring” technologies that opened the eyes of the medical profession and the general public at large.  The digital health models, dubbed as iDoctor, not only changes the way in which modern medicine is practiced for the better, but provides optimism to patients as their doctors will have an individualized picture of their health and thus, their treatment.

Thursday, 19 September 2013 15:29

MaxPulse: Helping Hearts Beat One At A Time

I think that we would all agree that most of the effort put out in the medical field is directed towards crisis management and only a small part towards prevention.  And God bless them for the crisis management they do.  The modern medical practice in this country is outstanding.   Sign me up.

Then, there is the slow degenerative process that we are subject to as humans. 
Conditions that slowly develop over time, but those we only address when they turn into a crisis.  Is waiting for a crisis really the best idea?

One of my favorite personal sayings is, “Prevention is the CURE.”  In a nutshell, if you are able to stop a problem before it starts, it is a non-problem.  We hear all the time that most cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes etc. are preventable.  There is plenty of science to back that statement up; I don’t think this is earth shattering news to anyone.  The biggest killers in our society are avertable with lifestyle changes.

For Immediate Release

PHOENIX, AZ - August 22, 2013 – PHOENIX, AZ - August 22, 2013 – Healthcare Networks of America, LLC (HNA) is pleased to announce that they have partnered with DocsOnWeb, LLC.  DocsOnWeb LLC provides telemedicine capabilities to private practice physicians with an important plus: fully functional, social media integrated, REAL Virtual Doctors’ Offices. "We are proud to be one of the first networks to offer this revolutionary technology to both our doctors and our payers and the patients they serve," says Sherry Krueger, Executive Director of Healthcare Networks of America.

For Immediate Release

PHOENIX, AZ - August 5, 2013 – Healthcare Networks of America, LLC is pleased to acknowledge their preferred providers named as one of PHOENIX magazine's 2013 Top Doctors. "We are honored to have these recognized doctors on our panel," says Sherry Krueger, Executive Director.

For more than 40 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking reporting and design.  They are ranked in the top circulation gainers in the United States this past decade among other city magazines.

For Immediate Release

PHOENIX, AZ - June 3, 2013 – Healthcare Networks of America, LLC is pleased to announce that they have partnered with The Cardio Group, LLC. (TCG).  Founded in 2009, TCG's goal was to find a device that would assist healthcare practitioners in addressing the cardiovascular needs of their patients.  TCG has secured the exclusive rights for United States, Canada, and Mexico for the Max Pulse screening device. "We are pleased to be able to offer the knowledge and expertise of The Cardio Group to our providers," says Sherry Krueger, Executive Director of Healthcare Networks of America.

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