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Multidisciplinary prostate cancer experts at PROSCA (19.04.2017)
Prostate cancer management is not a solo trip.
There are a lot of people involved and there is never just one solution. 

Multidisciplinarity is key in prostate cancer management throughout the spectrum of the disease. A patient seen by a multidisciplinary team is more likely to receive a balanced perspective on the risks and benefits of all available options. From low-risk disease where both urologists and radiation oncologist are involved to advanced PCa where medical oncologists join the team.

Next to the treating physicians, supportive physicians such as pathologists and radiologists and allied healthcare professionals such as nurse specialists and pharmacists have an important role in the multidisciplanry team. 
The Global Congress on Prostate Cancer (PROSCA) focusses on this multidisciplinarity.
It’s key to us that the faculty and the participants form a fusion of disciplines who can learn from each other.

VARI installs world-class microscopes to enable discovery of the molecular basis of disease (27.03.2017)
Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) is now home to one of the world’s most powerful microscopes—one that images life’s building blocks in startling clarity and equips VARI’s growing team of scientists to push the limits of discovery in search of new treatments for diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s.

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is a revolutionary technique that reveals in unprecedented detail the molecular and atomic interactions at the foundation of life, allowing scientists to observe exactly how viruses enter cells, how DNA replicates, how chemical compounds assemble into functional biological components, and much more. 
“Our new state-of-the-art cryo-EM facility, which includes significant investments in technology and talent, is part of our unwavering commitment to improve human health through scientific innovation,” says David Van Andel, the Institute’s CEO and chairman. “Not only will it fuel the discovery of life-changing treatments for devastating diseases, but it also will enhance Grand Rapids’ reputation as a destination for outstanding biomedical research.”

Already, cryo-EM has helped uncover the complex structure of Alzheimer’s-related proteins in the brain, overturned long-held assumptions about DNA replication and elucidated the structure of hundreds more molecules implicated in a variety of diseases.

FEI Titan Krios
The centerpiece of VARI’s cryo-EM facility is an FEI Titan Krios from Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world’s highest-resolution, commercially available cryo-EM. The Institute’s Krios is only the second in Michigan and one of fewer than 100 in the world. The facility also houses an FEI Talos Artica and an FEI Tecnai Spirit G2 BioTWIN. Overall, VARI invested $10 million in cryo-EM equipment and related construction.

“The resolution available with the Krios, compared to earlier methods, is akin to upgrading from a road atlas to Google Earth,” says Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc., VARI’s chief scientific officer. “It offers exquisite detail of complex systems, which will help us find new therapies so desperately needed for patients around the world.”

Part of the expansion also included hiring three cryo-EM experts: Huilin Li, Ph.D., an established investigator in the field with more than 20 years of experience; Wei Lü, Ph.D., an early career investigator who joined the Institute this month; and Gongpu Zhao, Ph.D., the cryo-EM facility’s manager, who played a key role in the 2013 discovery that revealed the structure of the HIV-1 virus’s outer shell.

Although cryo-EM has been around for decades, recent advances in both techniques and technology have revolutionized the approach, giving researchers powerful new tools to more quickly and more precisely see some of the smallest yet most important biological components in their natural state. These advances led to it being named as the Method of the Year in 2015 by the scientific journal Nature Methods.

“We are very pleased that VARI has chosen the Titan Krios. We have worked hard with leading life science researchers to perfect the capabilities they need to advance their understanding of living systems and disease processes,” says Peter Fruhstorfer, vice president and general manager of Life Sciences, Materials and Structural Analysis, at Thermo Fisher. “The advanced imaging capabilities of the Titan Krios allows scientists to visualize delicate biological structures at the molecular level without damage and in a nearly-natural context, helping them understand the essential relationships between structure and function that are the basis for life itself.”

Before the advances in cryo-EM, a technique called X-ray crystallography was the dominant method of determining molecular structure. However, the approach is very slow and painfully difficult because biological molecules are hard to crystallize. In cryo-EM, the need for crystallization is entirely circumvented. Scientists simply flash freeze molecules or cells in solution. The molecules, now embedded in a transparent thin layer of glassy ice, are then scanned with a powerful electron beam, generating hundreds of thousands of two-dimensional images that are then assembled in a computer into a detailed three-dimensional portrait.

“In a way, biologists are like locksmiths,” says Li. “We use tools such as cryo-EM or X-ray crystallography to see all of the facets of the lock— a normal protein doing its job in a cell or an abnormal protein in cancer, for example—and then use that information to design a key to fit the lock—a drug with the right shape to link up with the protein and alter its function, which may correct the error, ultimately treating the disease.”

Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent nonprofit biomedical research and science education organization committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations. Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, VAI has grown into a premier research and educational institution that supports the work of more than 360 scientists, educators and staff. Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), VAI’s research division, is dedicated to determining the epigenetic, genetic, molecular and cellular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translating those findings into effective therapies. The Institute’s scientists work in onsite laboratories and participate in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. Learn more about Van Andel Institute or donate by visiting 100% To Research, Discovery & Hope®

Beth Hinshaw Hall,
Van Andel Research Institute,
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Aegis Medical Innovations Announces FDA Approval of Clinical Trial (21.03.2017)

Aegis Medical Innovations Inc announced that it has received Investigational Device Exemption approval from the U.S. FDA to initiate a clinical trial in the U.S. for its medical device called the Sierra Ligation System (Sierra).

Aegis developed the Sierra technology in partnership with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Sierra could, with additional clinical research, prove to prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). The clinical trial, called LASSO-AF, is an early feasibility study designed to assess the safety and procedural success of Sierra in closing off the left atrial appendage (LAA) using a minimally invasive, epicardial approach. Participants will be considered for this trial if their doctor(s) have determined that they have AF, are at increased risk for developing a stroke, and are not ideal candidates for taking anticoagulation drugs.


“Patients with AF are five times more likely to have a stroke, often due to clots that form in the left atrial appendage. We feel confident that the upcoming trial will show the Sierra procedure to be safe and effective for closing the LAA in patients suffering from AF”

"For many AF patients, anticoagulants are used to reduce the risk of stroke. One of the downsides of these drugs is that they can result in life-threatening bleeding. Aegis has developed a minimally invasive, non-vascular LAA closure device, that is designed to protect the patient from AF-related stroke without taking blood thinners,” said Vivek Reddy, MD, Mount Sinai Cardiovascular Disease Specialist. “In contrast to vascular treatments, this non-vascular approach does not implant a device inside the heart that might migrate or cause clots in the LAA, thus potentially improving patient safety.”

“Patients with AF are five times more likely to have a stroke, often due to clots that form in the left atrial appendage. We feel confident that the upcoming trial will show the Sierra procedure to be safe and effective for closing the LAA in patients suffering from AF,” said Trevor McCaw, Aegis Founder and President.

The hospital approval process has begun for the trial to take place at Mount Sinai in New York, NY; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX; and Pacific Heart Institution, Santa Monica, CA. The clinical trial start date in the U.S. is scheduled for May 2017.

“This study will confirm the safety of the Sierra device for patient use, and will lay a solid foundation for future efforts to demonstrate that Sierra can prevent stroke in AF patients and eliminate the need to take blood thinners for stroke prevention,” notes the Lead Study Principal Investigator, Dr. Sheldon Singh from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

The Sierra procedure closes off the LAA by placing a ligature around the base of the LAA and cinching it down with a lock. Closing off the LAA from circulation prevents clots from leaving the appendage, eliminating a potential source of future stroke. Sierra is expected to be one of the simplest, most economical and safest percutaneous procedure for LAA closure. Sierra also has the potential to reduce, and possibly eliminate AF altogether in some patients.

Click here  to see a video demonstration of LAA closure using Sierra.

About Aegis Medical Innovations Inc.
Aegis Medical Innovations Inc. is a privately held Vancouver-based company that is focused on the commercialization of a minimally invasive device designed to safely reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AF. Aegis, in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, has developed the world’s only single access non-vascular, epicardial LAA ligation system, called Sierra. Sierra is designed to help prevent strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation.For more information on Aegis and Sierra visit

Media Contact:SOMA Concepts & Solutions
Kari Kylo, 604.889.8057
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Aug 2016 - PDF | e-book

Technology and Analytics are the key elements playing important role in many aspects of the healthcare delivery system.

With this in mind, we introduce the latest edition of Hospital & Healthcare Management Magazine - Vol 5 Issue 4 your one-stop resource that hepls you stay up to date with the issues that matters the most.

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May'16 | Feb'16 | Aug'15 | Feb'15 | Aug'14 | Feb'14 | June'13 | Feb.'13 | Aug.'12 | Apr.'12 | Dec.'11 | Aug.'11 | >> 

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