Doctors tried to lower $148K cancer drug cost; makers triple price of pill

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 21 April 2018
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Taking just one pill a day could dramatically reduce costs to around $50,000 a year. And it could lessen unpleasant side-effects, such as diarrhea, muscle and bone pain, and tiredness. But just as doctors were gearing up for more trials on the lower dosages, the makers of the drug revealed plans that torpedoed the doctors’ efforts: they were tripling the price of the drug and changing pill dosages.

Imbruvica’s makers, Janssen and Pharmacyclics, have now gotten approval to sell four different tablets of varying strengths: 140mg, 280mg, 420mg, and 560mg. But the new pills will all be the same price—around $400 each—even the 140mg dose pill.

Free market and caitalism will fix everything? Doesn't look like it works so well. At some point you begin to enjoy the idea that those responsible for this should get cancer and be unable to pay for their own medicine. Then companies like unethical Goldman Sachs would quickly vanish from the face of earth. At least others do not play along with pharma companies and show them where the limits are.

Goldman Sachs asks in biotech research report: 'Is curing patients a sustainable business model?'

Found on CNBC on Sunday, 15 April 2018
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"The potential to deliver 'one shot cures' is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically-engineered cell therapy and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies," analyst Salveen Richter wrote in the note to clients Tuesday. "While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow."

"GILD is a case in point, where the success of its hepatitis C franchise has gradually exhausted the available pool of treatable patients," the analyst wrote.

That makes you wonder if that "analyst" would think the same way if one of these "one shot cures" could end a disease which would make Salveen Jaswal Richter's life horrible. Maybe karma will teach her a harsh lesson.

Stephen Hawking: Visionary physicist dies aged 76

Found on BBC News on Wednesday, 14 March 2018
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The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.

They praised his "courage and persistence" and said his "brilliance and humour" inspired people across the world.

He's one of the few people everybody has heard about; although it's been rather quiet about him lately.

Scientists have confirmed a brand new form of matter: time crystals

Found on Science Alert on Saturday, 28 January 2017
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For months now, there's been speculation that researchers might have finally created time crystals - strange crystals that have an atomic structure that repeats not just in space, but in time, putting them in perpetual motion without energy.

A time crystal is like constantly oscillating jelly in its natural, ground state, and that's what makes it a whole new form of matter - non-equilibrium matter. It's incapable of sitting still.

Now if they can make use of that motion without putting in energy, we're a step closer to free energy.

CDC reports Nevada's first 'nightmare bacteria'

Found on Reno Gazette-Journal on Sunday, 15 January 2017
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“So the CDC basically reported that there was nothing in our medicine cabinet to treat this lady,” said Dr. Randall Todd, division director of epidemiology and public health preparedness for the Washoe County Health District.

Once the drug-resistant bug is identified, staff need to implement a precautionary plan to keep it from spreading. That includes strict hand washing and other hygienic practices.

Scientists have warned for decades that the widespread use of antibiotics will quickly lead to resistances. Bacteria undergo a much faster evolutionary process and adapt to previously dangerous substances. However, antibiotics are a big market, not only for human treatment, but also as precautionary measures in intensive livestock farming. They earn too much money for some people and companies.

Sugar-free products stop us getting slimmer

Found on DW on Sunday, 27 November 2016
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Many people believe that synthetic sweeteners will help them lose weight. But it turns out that one common substitute for sugar actually blocks the function of an enzyme that is essential for preventing obesity.

Why does aspartame not aid weight loss? "We found that aspartame blocks a gut enzyme called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP)," explains Professor Hodin, who teaches at Harvard Medical School.

Just drink plain water. It really is that simple.

How will you look after Botox? 3D scans could give you a preview

Found on New Scientist on Friday, 14 October 2016
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Molton has now tried this on 200 patients, and says it has allowed him to assess their treatment results in a more accurate and unbiased way. “When you place filler in certain parts of the face, it’s not just that part that reacts,” says Molton. “If you put it in the side of the cheeks, there’s an upward lift of the jawline as well.”

If people think they are being shown exactly how they will look, they may end up feeling disappointed, says Hussain. “We see this with rhinoplasty. Some surgeons use computer generations to show what their noses might look like, but you can’t always get that result surgically.”

Or you could just accept that you are getting old, instead of injecting some bacteria's neurotoxic proteins under your skin.

We Risk Programming Inequality into Our DNA

Found on Motherboard on Wednesday, 07 September 2016
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Scientists are pioneering the ability to tweak our DNA to wipe out disease and maybe even allow us to choose desirable traits in our unborn children, like height or intelligence. None of these technologies have moved out of the lab, but Americans are already uncomfortable with them.

But to me, the more important point raised was the concern that technological enhancements could lead to greater inequality—that the rich could pay to live longer, healthier lives, and the poor couldn’t.

Inequality won't be the major problem. Celebrating 50 years of Star Trek, it might be worth pointing out that the Augments already made their appearance, and the results of the genetic engineering were not pretty: they lead to the Eugenics Wars. Even if you say it's just science fiction, a lot of that fiction became reality; and as soon as this engineering will work reliably, the military will show great interest. Or more likely, it already does.

Would you drink 63-day-old milk? Scientists would

Found on CNet News on Friday, 22 July 2016
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In experiments, the LTST method extended the milk's shelf life (typically 8 to 14 days) to up to 63 days. Millisecond Technologies (MST) developed the process, which uses a heated, pressurized chamber to quickly raise and lower the temperature of the liquid. The method was first used on juice, but the company later switched its focus to milk. It's in the process of rolling out the technology on a commercial scale.

It's easy to check: you will quickly notice if your milk has gone bad.

Pop goes the weasel! Large Hadron Collider blown up by critter chomping 66kV cable

Found on The Register on Saturday, 30 April 2016
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CERN's search for exotic particles has been put on hold for a couple of weeks – after a small mammal gnawed through a power cable, incinerated itself and killed current to the world's most expensive scientific instrument.

It's not the first time the LHC has run into trouble from wildlife. In 2009 The Reg broke the story of a bird shutting down the LHC after a bird dropped a piece of bread into one of the LHC's outside substation, temporarily disabling it.

You would think that a bunch of scientists could come up with ways to protect they expensive hardware.