NEW HAVEN — Yale Cancer Center is among the first 19 sites to launch a multi-center clinical trial for patients with advanced squamous cell lung cancer who progressed after initial treatment. The trial, called Lung-MAP (Lung Cancer Master Protocol) is public-private collaboration that includes the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Friends of Cancer Research, cancer centers across the U.S. and five pharmaceutical companies.
Roy S. Herbst, MD, chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, said Lung MAP was designed to take advantage of cancer gene-sequencing technology to screen as many patients as possible to determine whether they are a match for the five experimental drugs in the trial. Herbst is co-chair of the Lung-MAP oversight committee and chair of the drug selection committee.
“With as many as 500 other partners expected to join this network, this trial offers us an exciting opportunity to work with enough patients to yield meaningful and actionable findings in terms of determining the best new drugs in the pipeline for these patients,” Herbst said. “We think this trial will be a model for any cancer based on molecular profiles.”
The trial will be available to eligible patients at Smilow Cancer Hospital and the eight YNHH Cancer Care Centers in the community.
Squamous cell carcinoma represents about a quarter of all lung cancer diagnoses, but there are currently few treatment options beyond surgery for the disease. The trial will use genomic profiling to match patients for whom other treatments have failed to one of drugs designed to target the genomic alterations suspected of driving the growth of the cancer.
To learn more about the trial visit Lung-MAP.org.
WALLINGFORD — Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, a not-for-profit long-term acute care hospital, has earned the Veteran’s Humanitarian Award from the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce. The honor was conferred specifically to the Gaylord Hospital Sports Association June 4 at the Quinnipiac chamber’s annual meeting to recognize the hospital’s outstanding support of war veterans.
The Sports Association offers adaptive sports and recreation programming such as golf, archery, waterskiing, kayaking, rock climbing, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, tennis, quad rugby, triathlon, curling, cycling and fishing. Designated programming for veterans began with the Connecticut Wounded Warrior Project in 2009, and is now offered as their SAVES (Sports Association Veteran Event Series) program, providing programs exclusively for veterans with disabilities.
HAMDEN — The School of Nursing at Quinnipiac University has received a $50,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of the New Careers in Nursing Scholarship program. Quinnipiac was one of 52 schools to receive a grant through the NCIN program, which supports traditionally underrepresented students who make a career switch to nursing through an accelerated nursing degree program. Quinnipiac’s grant will be divided into $10,000 scholarships to support five different students for the 2014-15 academic year.
“This grant supports the tuition for students from diverse backgrounds,” said Jean Lange, founding dean of the School of Nursing. “This year’s recipients include men and students with backgrounds in military service and health policy.”
HARTFORD — The state’s Department of Insurance will hold a public hearing on a proposal by Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield to raise premiums for its health plans beginning January 1, 2015. The hearing will take place beginning at 9 a.m. June 27 at the insurance department’s headquarters in Room 701 at 153 Market Street in Hartford.
The hearing will cover proposals for new rates for plans sold through the state’s insurance exchange, Access Health CT, as well as plans sold outside the exchange. Anthem is seeking to raise rates by an average of 12.5 percent, but the proposed premium changes vary by plan, ranging from a 4.8-percent decrease to a 17.38-percent hike.
People who don’t attend the hearing can submit written comments on the proposal online at the insurance department’s website, ct.gov/cid.
NEW HAVEN — Treatment with leptin, the hormone associated with fullness or satiety, reverses hyperglycemia in animal models of poorly controlled Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes by suppressing the neuroendocrine pathways that cause blood glucose levels to soar, a Yale School of Medicine-led team of researchers has found. The study appears in the advance online publication of Nature Medicine.
The leptin hormone regulates metabolism, appetite and body weight. The researchers discovered that, in a fasting state, rats with poorly controlled Type ! and Type 2 diabetes had lower plasma insulin and leptin concentrations and large increases in concentrations of plasma corticosterone — a stress hormone made in the adrenal glands that raises levels of blood glucose.
The researchers then found that normalizing plasma leptin concentrations in the Type 1 diabetes rats with a leptin infusion resulted in marked reductions in plasma glucose concentrations, which could mostly be attributed to reduction in rates of liver conversion of lactate and amino acids into glucose.
HARTFORD — It came down to the final hours before the legislative session ended May 7, but legislators tackled one of the most complex, controversial issues of the just-concluded legislative session by passing a measure that makes it easier for nonprofit hospitals to convert to for-profits and adds state oversight to hospital sales and transactions involving physician practices.
The bill, the subject of intense lobbying by hospitals and unions representing health care workers, was then headed to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, whose administration was among several groups involved in crafting the measure.
If signed by the governor, the bill could clear the way for hospitals in Waterbury, Bristol, Manchester and Vernon to be acquired by Tenet Healthcare, a national for-profit company.
The bill makes changes in three areas:
• It removes a barrier in existing law that makes it difficult for for-profit hospitals to operate in Connecticut;
• It expands state oversight on the sale of nonprofit hospitals;
• It gives the state significantly more oversight over transactions involving physician practices.
One of the major issues legislators sought to tackle this session is the ability of nonprofit hospitals to convert to for-profits. It’s a complex and highly charged issue. Here's what you need to know.
House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey (D-88) of Hamden expressed reservations about a controversial proposal that would impose a moratorium on nonprofit hospitals becoming for-profit.
Current state law doesn’t ban for-profit hospitals outright, but the legal structure that allows hospitals to employ doctors while avoiding anti-kickback requirements — known as a medical foundation — is only available to nonprofits. Tenet developed a workaround that it believed would allow it to operate for-profit hospitals in the state, but it wasn’t certain to pass legal scrutiny.
The bill legislators passed May 7 changes state law to allow for-profits to establish medical foundations.
But it also gives the state more authority in determining whether to approve the sale of a nonprofit hospital.
For a sale to be approved, the public health commissioner would have to determine that the affected community “will be assured of continued access to high quality and affordable health care” — after accounting for any proposed changes that affect hospital staffing. That’s in addition to criteria the commissioner already must use.
The hospital and purchaser would have to hold a public hearing in the town or city where the hospital is located.
And the public health commissioner and attorney general would be allowed to place “any conditions” on the approval of a hospital sale.
The bill also gives the state significant new authority over transactions involving physician practices.
Physician practices with eight or more full-time doctors would have to get state approval — known as a certificate of need — if they want to transfer ownership to a hospital or another organization, unless it’s another physician practice. Hospitals are already required to get a certificate of need to open facilities or terminate services, but physician practices generally haven’t been subject to the process.
The criteria for issuing a certificate of need would also be expanded to include consideration of whether the proposal would negatively impact the diversity of health care providers and patient choice in an area, and whether any consolidation that occurs would adversely affect health care costs or access to care.
This article originally was published in CTMirror.com, where it may be read in its entirely.
NEW HAVEN — Yale University researchers have determined how a scarce molecule produced by marine bacteria can kill cancer cells, paving the way for the development of new, low-dose chemotherapies.
The molecule, lomaiviticin A, was previously shown to be lethal to cultured human cancer cells, but the mechanism of its operation remained unsolved for more than a decade. In a series of experiments, Yale scientists Seth Herzon, Peter Glazer and colleagues show that the molecule nicks, cleaves and ultimately destroys cancer cells’ DNA, preventing their replication.
“DNA is one of the primary targets of anticancer agents, and cleavage of both DNA chains is the most potent form of DNA damage,” said Herzon, a professor of chemistry. “But few anticancer agents are able to directly cleave DNA. The discovery that lomaiviticin A is capable of this suggests it could be very useful as a novel chemotherapy, possibly at low doses.”
Results were published in the journal Nature Chemistry.
MILFORD — Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists, PC and OrthopedicHealth have agreed to merge. The deal creates the largest independent orthopaedic specialty practice in the region with 27 physicians including 21 board-certified specialists, according to the companies. The practice includes orthopaedists, podiatrists, physiatrists, and in-house physical and occupational therapists.
“Too often, mergers are about diminished services and consolidation. We both had something very different in mind,” said Glenn Elia, CEO of Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists. “The doctors of OrthopedicHealth are among the top in their fields of expertise and we are thrilled to have them on our team. This merger enhances our ability to emphasize the patient-doctor relationship and provide easy access and compassionate musculoskeletal care at the community level.”
OrthopedicHealth practitioners will continue to operate from their 849 Boston Post Road medical offices. Their patients will now have access to Connecticut Orthopaedic’s group physical therapy, MRI and surgical facilities located at nine southern Connecticut locations.