(Washington Post) – As a medical professional who became an accident victim and then a trauma patient, I was struck by the uneven nature of my care, which was marked by an overreliance on testing at the expense of my overall well-being. Instead of feeling like a connected patient at the center of care, I felt processed. This is disconcerting, especially at a time when patient-centered care — that is, care delivered with me, not to me or for me — is supposed to be becoming the new normal.
(Science) – A U.S. federal appeals court has rejected an attempt to strike down a long-contested stem cell patent held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). The Santa Monica, California–based Consumer Watchdog (CW) had hoped to invalidate the patent, which it says puts a burden on California’s taxpayer-funded research by requiring licensing agreements to use the cells, but on 4 June the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that CW isn’t involved in work on human embryonic stem cells and, thus, can’t challenge the patent in court.
(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – A pluripotent stem cell may be imagined to be in a state of readiness—ready to differentiate into any of the cell types that exist in the body. But stem cells don’t pass through developmental stages only after differentiation begins. Stem cell pluripotency itself is fairly dynamic. For example, pluripotent stem cells pass through at least two distinct developmental stages: naïve embryonic stem cells and primed epiblast stem cells.
(The Wall Street Journal) – The traditional doctor’s appointment is getting a makeover. In managed-care giant Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California region, with 3.7 million members, patients who show up for an office visit may get more than they bargained for: a “proactive office encounter.” They are likely to be nudged into getting a mammogram or colonoscopy, asked why they haven’t refilled their prescriptions and sent over for an overdue blood-pressure test.
(New York Daily News) – When patients’ end-of-life preferences are entered as instructions in their medical record, their wishes are more likely to be honored, a new study suggests. The study was done in Oregon, one of two states with an end-of-life planning program called POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment). “POLST is not for everyone. Only patients with serious illness or frailty should have a POLST form,” the program’s website notes.
(Medical Xpress) – Researchers at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging’s 2014 Annual Meeting revealed how a protein encourages the production of stem cells that regenerate damaged tissues of the heart following an acute attack (myocardial infarction). They further assert that it has a better chance of working if provided early in treatment. This was confirmed by molecular imaging, which captured patients’ improved heart health after therapy.
(New Scientist) – Take a hot new method that’s opened up a new era of genetic engineering, apply it to the wonder stem cells that in 2012 won their discoverer a Nobel prize, and you might just have a tool to cure HIV infection. That’s the hope of researchers led by Yuet Kan of the University of California, San Francisco – and they have proved the basic principle, altering the genome of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to give them a rare natural mutation that allows some people to resist HIV.