Breast cancer patients have long been in need of reliable therapeutic options that reduce pain and the risk of disfigurement. At the forthcoming MedTech conference of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed, Washington, DC), laser therapy specialist Novian Health Inc (Chicago) will showcasea novel technology for the ablation of early-stage breast tumors. The company’s CE-marked system is seeking to displace existing surgical procedures as the treatment of choice for early-stage breast tumors.
Every year, more than 275,000 women in the United States and 2 million around the world receive the dreaded diagnosis of breast cancer. The news can be overwhelming, triggering sudden and intense emotions. One participant in a study of patient responses to a breast cancer diagnosis said she felt “paralyzed and frozen with fear.”
While this post is a departure from our usual medicine-focused content, we at D&D wanted to acknowledge the recent passing of Regis Philbin. A few members of our staff were fortunate enough to meet Regis during his 88 years on earth — their reminiscences are below.
From Greg Dennis, retired co-founder of Dowling & Dennis:
“Regis Philbin had a son who was confined to a wheelchair and relied upon a small piece of technology made by a large medical company. As it happened, Dowling & Dennis did some PR consulting work for that company.
Back in about 2007, the company contacted me to say that Regis wanted to make a deal with the medical company so that when he died, his son would have a lifetime of free access to the technology — and what could we do with Regis? Did Liz and I have any ideas?
We came up with the idea of trading for a day of Regis’s time in Washington, D.C, to emcee the medtech industry’s annual event on Capitol Hill. I suggested we also add a tour for Regis through Walter Reed, where he could meet with wounded warriors hospitalized after being injured in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Regis and his representation agreed to our proposal, at which point we spent a frantic month pulling it all together. Which is how I got to spend the day with Regis Philbin in Washington, D.C.
He was as much fun and as much of a gentle man as this WSJ piece by Jason Gay makes him out to be. It was truly an honor to spend time with him.”
From Dr. Warren Farrell, strategic consultant at Dowling & Dennis:
“During my years on the Board of N.O.W. in NYC and later, I enjoyed three interviews by Regis Philbin — two in St. Louis and one in NYC.
Regis was neither constrained by the handcuffs of political correctness nor those of tradition. He was playful, challenging and indignant.
If humor, ‘telling it like it is’ and playful sparring leads to less stress and a longer, healthy, happy life, then it is little wonder that Regis exceeded the life expectancy of his generation by more than a decade.”
When the novel coronavirus began sweeping around the world earlier this year, it left doctors, hospitals and public health experts scrambling for answers. How should diagnoses of COVID-19 cases be made? What are the symptoms that need the most careful monitoring? What are the right treatment options for each stage of the disease? And what happens if patients have other conditions, such as being pregnant? The answers were—and continue to be—evolving so rapidly that it has been hard for overworked physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers to keep up.
But there isone place they can turn quickly for the latest information—a free online training module from a medical education company called CaseNetwork. First released on March 17, this program also illustrates the growing potential of virtual, case-based medical education even long after the pandemic has subsided.
For the 30 million Americans living with some form of kidney disease, the current COVID-19 pandemic brings a host of additional challenges not faced by the general population—like a greater risk of developing serious complications if they contract the virus. And for the 500,000 Americans with kidney failure who rely on dialysis treatments to stay alive, these challenges only multiply. Do they follow “stay-at-home” orders and skip their dialysis treatments, or do they risk exposure by going to a dialysis clinic where social distancing is difficult, if not impossible, to enforce? Either decision could have life-threatening consequences.
And what about the procedures to create and maintain the necessary access to their bloodstream that makes dialysis possible? In mid-March, the CMS deemed these procedures “non-essential,” leading to a host of cancelled appointments and operations. Even when CMS reversed its decision days later, the confusion that resulted from the chaos left many physicians, hospitals and patients unsure of which path to follow.
In the United States alone, nearly half a million people currently suffer from end-stage kidney disease and must undergo hemodialysis several times a week. For these patients, the vascular access site is quite literally their lifeline, as it provides direct access to their bloodstream for the life-saving treatments.
Yet due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, procedures to establish these vascular access sites have been deemed “non-essential” elective procedures by CMS and HHS, and nephrologists and vascular surgeons are finding themselves unable to secure operating room time.
Though we must all work together during this crisis to reduce the intense strain on our healthcare system, this decision could have devastating implications for patients with end-stage kidney disease — a group that is already highly vulnerable to potential complications of COVID-19. Limiting access to these procedures will increase reliance on riskier vascular access options that significantly increase patients’ chances of infection, hospitalization and even death. This will only add to the strain on resources as hospitals continue to deal with the outbreak.
Multiple myeloma is the most common hematological malignancy. It forms in plasma cells, white blood cells found mainly in the bone marrow that protect the body from infection by producing antibodies. When these cells become malignant, abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, producing abnormal antibodies and crowding out normal blood-forming cells. Some of these abnormal cells, known as circulating multiple myeloma cells (CMMC), escape from the primary tumor space and travel through the bloodstream.
Current approaches for diagnosing patients with multiple myeloma require bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. These are invasive procedures that use a hollow needle inserted into the hipbone or breastbone to remove bone marrow, blood, and a small piece of bone. While generally safe, bone marrow exams can result in excessive bleeding, infection, and long-lasting discomfort.
This basic fact makes IV therapy a pressing healthcare issue affecting nearly every specialty, according to Lee Steere, RN, CRNI, VA-BC, Manager of IV Therapy Services at Hartford Hospital – especially when you consider that nearly 90 percent of hospitalized patients will require a peripheral IV (PIV) catheter at some point during their stay.
In the United States, PIV failure rates average around 53%, meaning one out of every two catheters fail to last until the end of treatment. This could be the reason that needle sticks are among the top ten patient fears, according to a national survey of hospitalized patients.
Recovery from breast cancer can be a difficult journey, both physically and emotionally. An important part of recovery from the trauma of cancer diagnosis is to be able to put the entire experience in the rear view mirror, so to speak. But it’s hard to do that if you have a daily reminder in the form of a disfiguring scar.
It was once common for surgeons to focus solely on removing a breast cancer tumor with little regard for the appearance of the breast. But we now know we can deliver excellent cosmetic outcomes without compromising oncologic safety. There have been tremendous advances in the past 20 years in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer that enable us to help our patients look and feel better after breast cancer.
It will come as no surprise to medical device startups that the funding climate in medical devices is still challenging. We talked recently with two experts who come to this question with two different perspectives.
– Alice McKeon is VP Healthcare Investment Banking at Network 1 Financial, which is based in Red Bank, N.J.
– Dan Clark is a Cofounder and the Chief Marketing Officer at Linear Health Sciences, makers of the Orchid Safety Release Valve.
The power and policies emanating from Washington DC are on the minds of many people these days. How will the Trump Administration affect the investment climate in medical devices?
Many drivers have experienced the kind of fender-bender or sudden stop that made them glad they were wearing a seat belt. But a seatbelt can only protect us from so much — which is why airbags and more advanced safety approaches were invented.
To use another auto analogy, think of the breakaway hoses at gas stations pumps. They prevent the full hose from being pulled out of the pump when an absent-minded driver drives away without removing the nozzle from the gas tank.