Posts Tagged www.eppicglobal.org

Tackling Global Health – (Kim Bush, Gates Foundation) Keynote Preview at EPPICon 2015


With Obamacare, the discussion about national health has moved to front and center stage.  But what about the status of global health; what are the opportunities and challenges?   Just about a decade ago, availability of resources was the biggest problem in the arena of global health.  But with the rise in public and private giving, to a large part due to unprecedented giving by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates, the challenge has now shifted to better coordination of resources for “equitable, inclusive & sustainable solutions”.  According to Council on Foreign Affairs, “for the first time in history, the world is poised to spend enormous resources to conquer the diseases of the poor”.

Logo da fundação Bill & Melinda Gates

Logo da fundação Bill & Melinda Gates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Kim C. Bush, director of Life Sciences Partnerships at Gates Foundation, is leading the efforts to broaden and deepen the foundation’s engagement and partnership initiatives with various healthcare industry sectors.  With an objective to address the critical global health challenges with speed and effectiveness, the foundation is bringing in the industry in this dialog, in a systemic manner.  The goal of the Gates foundation is to match global health priorities with the industry capabilities.  

Kim Bush will be giving a keynote address at 2015 EPPIC Annual Conference, on March 28th at Santa Clara Convention Center.   Entrepreneurs in life science arena, committed to solving some of the major health challenges of our times, may get big insights into where the gaps and the glaring problems are, as well as where the resources are being channeled.

Lineup of speakers on all panels at EPPIcon 2015, is very exciting, with plenty of networking opportunities thrown in.  Here is a link to the preview of one of the panels on Digital Health – http://bit.ly/1EQtd5y .  No doubt, connected, digital health will also play a prime role in advancing global health.  Come and participate in the dialog, network with like minded professionals in Silicon Valley, and hear from key opinion leaders, angel and VC investors and other industry leaders.  Early bird registration will expire at midnight today, March, 16.  Register today at www.eppicglobal.org .

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Also a plug for http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com 2015 annual conference on May 27 and 28 in Burlingame, CA. Early bird pricing will be effective till March, 31.  Panels include Innovations for the Underserved, Resilient Communities, Population Health Management, and the conference has a dedicated focus on making a positive difference and transforming health globally.  Register soon for an opportunity to hear great speakers and network with professionals committed to making a difference.

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Digital Health Panel Preview – EPPICon 2015


EPPIC annual conference is on March, 28 and early bird pricing will end on Monday, March 16.  Here is a sneak peek at one of the panels.  

Technology is impacting health in interesting ways and many exciting innovations in digital health are expected to change how diseases are tracked, reduce inefficiency in healthcare delivery, reduce costs, improve access to healthcare, increase quality, save resources, and make medicine more personalized.  Digital health panel at EPPICon 2015 has diverse and interesting lineup of speakers.

wpid-20150304_162558.jpgDr. David Persing, EVP, CMO, and CTO at Cepheid, had made an early resolve to have a positive impact on the world.  Guided by intellectual curiosity, while doing his pre-med, he discovered “the power of diagnostics”.  The company’s mission at Cepheid is to use the power of molecular diagnostics such that it would enable medical providers to identify and treat diseases early, increasing opportunities to improve patients’ survival and quality of life. Their cloud based platform, “The Digital Miasma” for monitoring of emerging infections earlier, is just launched and is in the implementation phase.

wpid-20150304_163547.jpgPanelist Deborah Profit is Director of Corporate Projects – Global Clinical & Business Operations for Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development and Commercialization.   OPC, is headquartered in Tokyo and is known for popular sports drink Pocari Sweat and energy drink Oronamin C.  OPC also developed Abilify, an approved drug treatment for certain mental illnesses, and as of 2013, annual sales of Abilify were over $8 billion a year, making it the highest grossing drug worldwide.  You would wonder what has that to do with digital health, until you consider the fact that patient non-compliance is one of the biggest challenges in many illnesses but specifically in mental illnesses.  Otsuka has recently made a deal with Proteus Digital Health for tracking medical adherence.  Proteus system includes sensor-enabled pills that embed intelligence into the pills so that their ingestion can be precisely tracked.  Personally, I am totally against drugs for mental illnesses, many of which do not work as expected; placebo effects are not well identified, clinical studies are often sponsored by drug companies and the list of side effects is daunting and being a psychologist, having seen side effects and heard them being discussed by my colleagues, I have developed absolute disgust for drugs for mental disorders.

Proteus “ingestible sensor” technology however, holds enormous promise for various indications, specifically for treatment and management of chronic conditions.  Otsuka plans to make use of Proteus Digital Health’s feedback system in its clinical R&D, presumably for its oncology products.

The next panelist, Dr. Marsha Rose Gillentine is Director of Biotechnology/ Chemical Group at Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox, LLP and has intimate knowledge and understanding of patent litigation strategy in small molecules, ploymorphs, chemical synthesis, pharmaceutical formulations, methods of treatment, drug delivery devices, animal models, vaccines, polymers and more.  Her experience encompasses working with clients to implement lifecycle management strategies, specifically at it relates to personalized medicine patent portfolios.

Members of the Paris Medical Faculty (1904) An...

Members of the Paris Medical Faculty (1904) André Chantemesse (1851–1919) Georges Pouchet (1833–1894) Paul Poirier (1853–1907) Georges Dieulafoy (1839–1911) Georges Maurice Debove (1845–1920) Paul Brouardel (1837–1906) Samuel Pozzi (1846–1918) Paul Jules Tillaux (1834–1904) Georges Hayem (1841–1933) Victor Cornil (1837–1908) Paul Berger (1845–1908) Jean Casimir Félix Guyon (1831–1920) Pierre-Emile Launois (1856–1914) Adolphe Pinard (1844–1934) Pierre-Constant Budin (1846–1907) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jared Heyman is founder and CEO of CrowdMed, a brilliant innovative site that takes connected health to a whole new plane.  Often individuals afflicted with rare or neglected diseases, go from doctor to doctor, from pillar to post, just to accurate diagnosis and then they face whole set of new challenges for treatment.  CrowdMed is seeking to solve most challenging medical cases, worldwide, with speed and accuracy online, by harnessing the collective wisdom of the crowd.

The Digital Health Panel at EPPICon 2015, will be an exciting panel.  Agenda for the entire day looks very interesting and there will be plenty of opportunities for attendees to network and mingle with like-minded professionals.  The conference is on Saturday, March 28th at Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, CA.  Early bird pricing has been extended till March, 16.  Please register for the event at the link http://tinyurl.com/o4cj3ow or from www.eppicglobal.org .

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2014 – Year-end Review ——- Theme: Confront Reality & Get Things Done!


English: Biosafety level 4 hazmat suit: resear...

English: Biosafety level 4 hazmat suit: researcher is working with the Ebola virus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Year 2014 is coming to a close.  As I see it, it has been a year to confront the reality and get things done.  Affordable Care Act became law in January, increasing the accessibility of healthcare, in the US.  TIME declared Ebola as the defining issue of the 20th century. It was no more in remote regions of Africa but in the capitals and it landed in the USA.  The reality is that we are living in a global world.  

And then President Obama reminded us that even though some of our neighbors entered the border illegally, they have made their home here, are working hard, supporting their families and they should have NOT amnesty, but an opportunity to make it right with the law, and live here temporarily, AND pay their share of the taxes, because people can’t live in the shadows, in a global world of visibility and accountability.   Long overdue immigration reform will enable many people to come out of the shadows and add to the national treasury – a win-win – what’s not to like?

The same applies to our gay neighbors.  They should not have to live in the shadows.  Majority of the states this year, legalized same sex marriages and US supreme court refused to hear appeals from states seeking to keep same sex marriage ban in place.  Many states also legalized marijuana.  But what about our veterans living in the shadows?  Department of Veterans Affairs got more resources (as house passed the bill, at the end of the year, averting shutdown), and it now has to get its act together and make it right with those who defend our freedom and values.

And what about skin color?  We are confronting the reality that more than 50 years after Dr. King laid out his vision for color-fair society, people are still being judged on the basis of the color of their skin and paying with their lives.  This does not just happen when young men turn 22 but prejudice hits in childhood  http://bit.ly/15EInJ4 and it splinters society.  We can heal and move ahead, but scars made by history, and distrust can only heal when there are no new wounds, when there is real dialog, when each side gets to even briefly experience the reality that the other lives with, and have compassion.  We are confronting the reality and lot of dialog is happening.  Much work remains to be done but the issue can’t be ignored any longer.

And then the lowest of the low, terrorists and those plotting terror.  How do we deal with them?  Report on CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the post-9/11 era reveals that “CIA detainees were tortured”.  When we lose sight of our values, when the boundaries between moral and immoral gets blurry, then we lose, regardless of what we were seeking to gain.  This is a true moment for national soul searching. (the fact some people may be only suspected of being terrorists is whole other story).

Globally, also we are confronting realities.  World’s largest democracy, India, elected controversial Mr. Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.  Mr. Modi has reached out to leaders across the world and declared campaigns to clean up India.  My birthplace has so much to offer to the world and if it cleans up its act, under the helm of Mr. Modi, I couldn’t be happier.  Our neighbors need to clean up their act too, even as they rightfully blame the US for its insatiable appetite for drugs.  Capture of “El Chapo” Guzman in Mexico was a HUGE victory that got overshadowed later by disappearance and ruthless murder of 43 Mexican college students.  “#YaMeCanse12”!  Abduction of 270 high school girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria #BringBackOurGirls and scores of Yazidi women bought, sold, raped, and murdered, underscores the need to define rape during conflict as a war crime and not a woman’s issue.  By some estimates, more than 7 million (50% are children) are displaced by war in Syria (200,000 are killed) and 100,000+ Yazidis are displaced by ISIS.  Let us continue to keep theses issues in the spotlight.

The year is ending on a rather sad note of the children who lost their lives in #PeshawarSchoolAttack in Pakistan.  Here is my short poem in their memory – http://bit.ly/1wfp47D .  It was heart warming to see India support its neighbor in the hour of grief as #IndiawithPakistan was a popular hashtag on twitter. And also deeply heartwarming to see Pakistan echo the sentiments when #PakistanwithIndia and sepecially #PakistanwithIndiaNoToLakhviBail became trendy topics on twitter as overwhelmingly Pakistani people reacted negatively to their government’s decision to give bail to Mumbai terror mastermind Lakhvi.  May the balanced sentiments always prevail over extremism, because the reality is that we live in a global world and terror can’t be nurtured and targeted because sooner or later it would hit home.  Global world also demands secularism.

As a ray of light and hope, Malala Yousafzai, courageous young lady from Pakistan, spearheading girls’ right to education and Kailash Satyarthi from india, a brave and dedicated activist for children’s rights and against child labor, shared the Nobel Prize, sending strong messages that fight to honor children’s rights will continue.

Personal

wpid-20140920_173123.jpgHard as it is to confront the reality that one’s parents may not be there forever, I was very happy to spend wonderful time with my mother and my aunty (her sister).  I tried to focus on giving them a break from their routines and enable them to have some fun, some unusual experiences.  Isn’t it amazing that when a mother gives, she gives with her heart and soul, but when she receives from her children, she receives with a feeling of enormous debt and gratitude!  Both my children are focused on their careers; wpid-20140805_201145-1.jpgNeil is working with Cisco in IT and Neesha is finishing college this coming year.  Both are my pride and joy :).  It has also been fun hosting my daughter’s friend from UCSD, originally from Palestine, during the holidays, and alternately being “naughty” with the girls, and playing aunty-mom to two daughters :).wpid-20141221_150415.jpg

wpid-20141221_161442.jpgThis year, I also visited Japan (we were hosted by many amazing friends and you can see all details in my travel blogs), an amazingly polite and most efficient culture, with world’s most interesting toilets http://bit.ly/1sYL5qs.  This year I also started travel blogs and you can see my many blogs at www.darshanavnadkarni.wordpress.com.

And finally, here are links to some of the most amazing things that I blogged about, this year.
Best movie – “Last Days in Vietnam” http://bit.ly/1qFIL28
Best play – “Truce” http://bit.ly/1trGhEG and “Andhera Hone Tak” http://bit.ly/1Aij5Rz
Best book – “The Glass Castle” http://bit.ly/1fchcIo
Best biomedical technologies — so many exciting technologies in early to mid stages of development for — treatment of ALS http://bit.ly/1AP2Yd0, for technology for early detection of cervical cancer http://bit.ly/1jalqEz, technology that aims to deliver drugs via inhalation for AFib, point of care solution to minimize prescription filling errors http://bit.ly/1jdfmgr

Wishing my readers, family & friends, and my clients and colleagues, peace and joy in the year 2015.  Best wishes to my many friends in fantastic groups that I am routinely affiliated with (each of them enhance life for many, personally and/or professionally) http://www.bio2devicegroup.org, http://www.eppicglobal.org, http://www.citylights.org, http://www.thestage.org, http://www.theatreworks.org, http://www.naatak.org, http://www.enacte.org, http://www.iwings.org .

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New Waves in Biotech – Chinese Bioscience Association Annual Conference Review


The Chinese Bioscience Association (CBA) is a non-profit organization, with a mission to promote education, networking, and community building for life science professionals.

At its recent annual conference in San Francisco Bay Area, an impressive array of speakers discussed new trends, promises, and challenges in the biotech industry.

English: A diagram illustrating the distinctio...

English: A diagram illustrating the distinction between cancer stem cell targeted and conventional cancer therapies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his keynote address, Dr. Frank McCormick, Professor at UCSF and founder of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, talked about targeted cancer therapies and some of the lessons learned from Onyx.  Almost 30% of all mutated cancers happen in oncoproteins like BCR-ABL and RAS.  In 1994, Onyx initiated a 5 year collaboration with Bayer that led to $25M study for drug development, based on RAS pathway.  Unfortunately, it did not lead to drug leads.  In hindsight, “we realized that it was too early to jump into the pathway based on our feeble understanding of RAS pathway”, said McCormick.  However, Onyx has had several successes, despite the fact that finding new targets has become increasingly difficult, said McCormick.  Sorafenib, a kinase inhibitor, was approved for treatment of renal and liver cancers.  Onyx also has had success in viral therapies.  In 2009, Onyx sued Bayer, its longtime partner, and won the lawsuit.  Removal of the “change of control” clause in the original collaboration agreement, in favor of Onyx, has resulted in Onyx going from a $10M company in 1994 to $10B company in 2014.

English: Listeria monocytogenes grown on Liste...

English: Listeria monocytogenes grown on Listeria Selective Agar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Stephen Issacs, Chairman and Founder of Aduro Biotech talked about the importance of embracing change to keep growing.   Issacs shared his story from 1978 where his career began in psoralen photochemistry and then teaching at UC Berkeley.  In 1991, he found Cerus Corporation, a biomedical products company commercializing the Intercept Blood Systems.  He raised over $650M and negotiated a $200M partnership with Baxter International and took the company public.  He then found Aduro BioTech.  Here is my previous article on his company Aduro Biotech http://bit.ly/JqDJ3K that uses a bacterial vector, in the form of genetically modified listeria, to stimulate the immune system to fight cancers and infectious diseases.  Issacs also talked about his volunteer work in Kasigau, Kenya through his family non-profit organization, a cause that is very dear to his heart and to which he is highly dedicated.

Kayser-Fleischer ring: copper deposition in De...

Kayser-Fleischer ring: copper deposition in Descemet’s membrane of the cornea. These rings can be either dark brown, golden, or reddish-green, are 1 to 3 mm wide, and appear at the corneal limbus. With rare exceptions, they are diagnostic of inherited hepatolenticular degeneration—Wilson’s disease. This 32-year-old patient complained of longstanding difficulty speaking. He also had a tremor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Chandler Robinson shared his incredible story of how he went from being an undergraduate researcher to becoming a CEO of Tactic Pharmaceuticals, a privately held biotech, in Chicago. Tactic acquires and develops pre-clinical and clinical stage compounds.  Somewhere in between his strenuous MD program at Stanford and pursuing his MBA in UK, Robinson acquired an abandoned drug, Decupratetm, and after couple of years, published his research in Science.  In early 2013, Decupratetm got Orphan Drug Designation from European Commission for treatment of Wilson’s Disease.  Wilson’s Disease is characterized by its disturbed copper metabolism that leads to copper accumulation in the body, resulting in severe disability or death. Tactic Pharma has acquired 3 compounds to date.

Diseases and conditions where stem cell treatm...

Diseases and conditions where stem cell treatment is promising or emerging. (See Wikipedia:Stem cell#Treatments). Bone marrow transplantation is, as of 2009, the only established use of stem cells. Model: Mikael Häggström. To discuss image, please see Template talk:Häggström diagrams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Stanford Cardiovascular Institute (SVI), Dr. Joseph Wu and his team work with iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells).   Wu is recipient of several awards and his clinical activities involve adult congenital heart disease and cardiovascular imaging.  According to Wu, iPS will be a game changing platform for drug discovery research.  Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is one of the most prevalent cardiovascular disease.  At some point, we should be able take blood and make iPS cells, differentiate them into cardiac cells or other cell types, and expose them to different drugs to find out what would be the ideal drug for that patient, said Wu.  Wu said, it is important to study different ethnicities; different ethnic groups metabolize drugs differently.  CVI has received $20M grant and Wu’s team is trying to create a bank of 1000 cell lines, for drug discovery research.  (iPSCs) seem to have exciting therapeutic implications in regenerative medicine, particularly for myocardial infarction and possibly for neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and other disorders.  However, stem cell biology is as yet incompletely understood and  some of the challenges include immunogenicity, tumorigenicity and so on.  Drugs can be tested on surrogates of patients, before giving them to the patients, said Wu.

Inhaler

Inhaler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Moninder Hora, SVP at Nektar Therapeutics talked about Nektar’s pipeline and technologies.  Nektar’s technology is based on polymer conjugation platform, said Hora.  Nektar has a robust pipeline of novel therapeutics and Nektar also partners with top biopharmaceutical companies to bring new products to market.  Nektar’s pipeline of late stage molecules include Amaikacin, Ciprofloxacin, Fovista, BAX 858, and NKTR-102.  Amaikacin Inhale is delivered directly to lungs to treat gram-negative ventricular pneumonia.  NKTR-102 is first PEGylated small molecule, first in its class, to treat breast cancer.  It has passed safety and efficacy markers and is showing to significantly improve overall survival and endpoints will be announced next year.  Nektar is also getting positive results from some of its early stage molecules.  Recently Nektar presented positive preclinical data for NKTR-214 for immunotherapy treatment.  Nektar is developing pain management portfolio and recently got fast track designation for NKTR-181, a new oral opioid analgesic molecule for the treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain.  NKTR has filed for regulatory approval in EU for MOVENTIG, comprising of once only daily oral tablet, to treat opioid induced constipation.  Hora concluded saying that Nektar has very robust pipeline of highly promising molecules.

English: Example transdermal patches. On left ...

English: Example transdermal patches. On left is a ‘reservoir’ type, on the right a ‘matrix’ version. Both contain exactly the same level of the same active ingredient. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Zander Strange, VP of Bus Dev. and Corp. Dev. at Zosano Pharma shared about their products based on novel transdermal delivery technology.  Zosano’s rapid onset system allows drug delivery to occur, almost painlessly.  The drug is delivered close to the capillary bed, allowing it to quickly dissolve.  The short-wear-time patch consists of microneedles coated with Zosano’s proprietary formulation of an existing drug, attached to an adhesive patch.  Therapeutic effect is expected to occur within 30 minutes or less, in an easy, pain free administration.  Zosano products are in dry formulation, thus vastly improving product stability and long shelf life, in addition to allowing for easy travel and storage at room temperature.

CBA annual conference was packed with impressive lineup of speakers, interspersed with plenty of networking opportunities.  For additional information, please go to www.cbasf.org .      

PS – EPPIC Digital Health event http://bit.ly/1uwQ6af is today at 6 pm in Palo Alto. Please register ASAP at http://www.eppicglobal.org .

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Digital Health Trailblazers – event preview of upcoming EPPICGLOBAL event


US healthcare and healthcare globally,  faces some major challenges in the form of cost containment, effective coordination of care, and battling the spread of chronic diseases.  Can digital health give us leverage and tools for addressing these challenges?  At next EPPIC (www.eppicglobal.org) event, two innovative leaders in digital health, will share their perspectives.

Michelle Longmire is founder of Medable, a cloud platform that provides HIPAA compliant services to mobile and web applications.  Developers can build applications that communicate securely with Medable’s cloud platform using the Medable API.  Medable services are hosted on scalable, fault tolerant platform system.

Michelle Longmire is a physician-scientist, with a background in image analysis and processing and holds patents in machine learning as applied to medical diagnostics.  Currently she is training in dermatology at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA.

Anoo Nathan is Founder and CEO of Smart Montior, a device designed to provide monitoring and tracking solutions for people with chronic health conditions.  Blending sensor, mobile, and cloud technologies with big data analytics, Smart Monitor offers solutions that enhance safety and autonomy for people with chronic conditions.

Anoo Nathan is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded 2 companies, taking them from inception to profitability to exit and is an inventor on several patents.

The event will be at Lowenstein Sandler, LLP, 390 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301, on October 7 at 6pm.  Price for EPPIC members is $10 and for non members is $20.  Register for this event at www.eppicglobal.org.
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Also tomorrow, September 30th at 8:30 am CEO & Founder of Corvectra, Chris Melton will speak on “Rocket Science Meets Biotech at the Frontier of Digital Health” at http://www.bio2devicegroup.org event at 456 West Olive Avenue, Sunnyvale.  This is a free event.  Walk-ins welcome.

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Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors among South Asians Compared to other Ethnic Groups


Dr. Alka Kanaya talked about Diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors in multi-ethnic groups comparison studies, at a joint event hosted by  www.eppicglobal.org and  www.bio2devicegroup.org .  Dr. Kanaya is Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics at UCSF and a principal investigator in Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America or MASALA study, for short.  Primary objective of the study was to research and understand the high incidence of diabetes and CHD among people of South Asian origin.

Kanaya first shared information on South Asians (will be referred here as SA) and then discussed the study results in the context of multi ethnic comparison.  Currently there are 3.4 M people from South Asia living in the US.  It is the second fastest growing racial/ ethnic minority in the US.  They constitute 20% of all Asians and 75% of them are foreign born.  Although there is little organized medical data on SAs, overall they have relatively lower body weight (BMI), have more central abdominal obesity, and experience higher rates of diabetes and indicate high risk of early heart disease.

MASALA study began in March, 2010 and constitutes a total sample of 906 people, between the ages of 40 and 84.  People with prior history of any cardiovascular disease, those in active cancer treatments, those planning to move out of the area in the next 5 years, and nursing home residents, were excluded.  Data collected included weight, height, waist, seated BP, Ankle-brachial index (ABI predicts the sevearity of PAD, peripheral artery disease), 2 hour OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test), abdominal CT, and several blood tests and extremely detailed questionnaires regarding family history and information about personal habits like alcohol, smoking, sleep, diet and exercise.

Results from MASALA study were compared to results on almost all similar measures with Whites, Latinos, African-Americans and Chinese populations in ongoing MESA study.  See the websites of MESA (www.mesa.nhlbi.org) and MASALA (www.masalastudy.org) studies to see many interesting details on several patterns that emerged.  Kanaya specifically discussed some patterns among South Asians when compared with other ethnic groups.

When adjusted by sex and age, South Asians had significantly high rates of hypertension.  However, there weren’t major or alarming differences in cholesterol.  One of the reasons could be that South Asians were overall more educated, from higher socio-economic background, and were more likely to be using statins and other cholesterol lowering drugs

Most alarming differences were observed in diabetes and pre-diabetes levels.  Almost 30% of men and almost 15% of South Asian women had Diabetes Mellitus, versus 20% or lower among other groups of men, and 13% or lower among other groups of women.  Nearly 37% of SA men and 29% of SA women had IFG (impaired fasting glucose indicative of pre-diabetes), compared to 20% or less for men and 13% or less for women from other groups.  When adjusted for many indicators including age, sex, cholesterol, triglycerides, hypertension etc., South Asians were significantly more likely to have type 2 diabetes.

When adjusted for age, sex, BMI, and waist and excluding those on diabetes meds, this high incidence of Diabetes Mellitus among South Asians seemed to be associated with higher levels of insulin resistance, lower pancreatic B-cell function, and (as confirmed by abdominal CT data) high amount of body fat around abdominal regions and in the liver.

Mercat de la Boqueria, fruits & vegetables

Mercat de la Boqueria, fruits & vegetables (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Among lifestyle factors, the high rates of DM (Diabetes Mellitus) among SA was attributed to poor diet with less fruits and vegetables and more Western diet (including pizza, pasta etc.), sweets, refined grains, and consumption of high animal based protein in the diet and low levels of exercise.  Considering that even on a relatively leaner body, South Asians carry more fat, the study concluded that guidelines for BMI should be lower for people of South Asian origin.

The study concluded that 75% of South Asians were overweight or obese using the recommended BMI cut-points in Asians.  Compared to other racial/ ethnic groups, South Asians were from higher socio economic status, had low smoking rates, and low to moderate alcohol use.  They also indicated very low physical activity, higher diabetes prevalence (specially among men), second highest prevalence of high blood pressure, and men have more coronary calcium than other groups.

A yoga class.

A yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of the recommendations for South Asians from the study were, to know the risk factors, work towards ideal BMI goal (less than 23 kg/m2 for SA), remember waist size matters more than BMI, walk at least 30 minutes a day 5 days a week, avoid a diet high in animal protein and refined carbs, and then something interesting – do Yoga!

Kanaya also shared results from her PRYSMS study that assigned subjects with metabolic syndrome into two groups, one practicing Restorative Yoga (included lot of lying down and relaxing poses) and other, Stretching Exercises.  In 6 months, both groups improved their PA and calorie intake.  Favorable changes in the stretching group included, lowered triglycerides and improved mental health.  Restorative yoga group reduced and sustained weight loss and weight girth loss but not visceral fat area.  Finally, only yoga group indicated reduction of fasting glucose and overall favorable metabolic changes in the yoga group included lowering of fasting insulin, glucose, HbA1c and HDL.

One wonders if very determined focus on material wealth goes with more stress.  In any case, it shows once again that stress relief is a key for improved health.  This was a fascinating talk and was followed by Q&A and animated discussion.

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Fiona Ma (Assemblywoman & Campaigner against Hepatitis B) to speak at Health Technology Forum Conference


Hepatitis B Virus

Hepatitis B Virus (Photo credit: AJC1)

Hepatitis B (HBV) virus is a very common virus worldwide.   Approximately, 1.2 million people in the United States are affected by this virus.  Almost 350 million people worldwide, are living with Hepatitis B.  Many people with Hepatitis B are likely to be infected at birth or in early childhood, and due to lack of immediate attention, have developed a lifelong chronic infection.   Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that is commonly spread through blood, semen, or other body fluids.  Most people do not experience symptoms until it is too late.  The virus causes 80% of all liver cancers, if left untreated.  Hepatitis B can be prevented with vaccination.  And with immediate attention and monitoring with nutrition, fluids, and medical supervision, acute Hep B can also be effectively treated.

Fiona Ma, incumbent democratic candidate for State Board of Equalization, a reputed politician and a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, California State Assembly, is a tireless campaigner and spokesperson for “San Francisco Hepatitis B Free” campaign.  San Francisco has the highest concentration of Hep B in the country.  Ma herself learned that she had Hep B, when she was 22.  She acquired it from her mother, who had acquired it from her mother.  About 1 in every 10 Asian Americans, is infected with the virus.  Ma’s mother had developed liver scars and having caught that early, had it removed.

English: California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma

English: California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiona Ma will be giving keynote address at Health Technology Innovation Forum annual conference on May, 20 at Parc 55, Wyndham Hotel, SF.  The conference is focused on exploring pathways to sustainable health through various means including “best practices for globally underserved”, through “gamification” and “patient engagement”, and through “building resilient communities for better outcomes”.  Traditionally, this conference is heavily attended by physicians from UCSF, as well as entrepreneurs focused on healthcare breakthroughs.  Please register for the conference at http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com , as my friend, with the discount code “HTF14-FriendOfOrganizer” and send me your first & last name at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com, to get $150 off the price of the ticket.

 

Please note other upcoming events below – dates & deadlines.

1) Register for #TiEcon at link https://www.123signup.com/register?id=dbnfb&ref=4182698  as my guest & enter promo code tievalue to get $100 discount. If you are an entrepreneur, I would say this is the conference, you don’t want to miss.  Check out great agenda, top notch speakers & panelists on #IoT, #bigdata, #cloud, and #Healthcare tracks at http://www.tiecon.org.

3) Feel free to send me an email for any of these events at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com and you can follow my updates on Twitter @DarshanaN.  Also, do check out (in JOBS category on this blog), my job opportunities that include many Quality Engineering jobs in CA and MA and hot Software Embedded Engineer job and more.

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Steve Mollenkopf, CEO, Qualcomm to give Grand Keynote at TiEcon 2014


TiEcon, the largest entrepreneurship conference, will focus this year on four industry focused tracks, Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud Infrastructure, and Healthcare. (Please register through this link as my guest https://www.123signup.com/register?id=dbnfb&ref=4182698 and enter promo code tievalue to get a $100 discount).

Steve Mollenkopf, President and CEO of Qualcomm, will give grand keynote address, on day 1.  With a background in electrical engineering, Mollenkopf holds patents in “power estimation and measurement, multi-standard transmitter system, and wireless communication transceiver technology.”  He has spent his entire 20+ year career at Qualcomm.  Previously, he led the chip set business at Qualcomm and helped make Qualcomm the world’s largest mobile chipset supplier and global leader in LTE technology.  Mollenkopf also led the company’s largest acquisition of Atheros, purchased at $3.1 billion, a deal that helped expand Qualcomm’s business beyond smartphones and enabled and speeded adoption of Qualcomm’s technologies and platforms in new segments.

Qualcomm logo

Qualcomm logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Qualcomm makes over $25 billion each year, in revenues, powering world’s smartphones and tablets.  Qualcomm may not be a lean and mean startup, but it is a technology driven company.  Mollenkopf is entrepreneurial in nature and a self-proclaimed gadget freak.  Entrepreneurs at TiEcon will be waiting to hear Mollenkopf’s perspectives on opportunities in mobile space.  Will he share any new industry leading innovations in the pipeline, at Qualcomm?

TiEcon 2014 is shaping up to be fantastic entrepreneurship focused conference, with awesome panels and speakers.  Please register through this link as my guest https://www.123signup.com/register?id=dbnfb&ref=4182698 and enter promo code tievalue to get a $100 discount.

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Other Life Science focused events

1) Register for Health Tech Forum annual conference on May 20, at www.healthtechnologyforum.com.  With a theme of “Pathways to Sustainable Health”, the conference will bring together physicians, entrepreneurs, payers, and providers with an aim to empower quality of health.
2) Michelle Chen from DNAtrix, Inc. will talk on “Developing Oncolytic Virus to Treat Glioblastoma” on Tuesday, April, 29, 8:30am.  This is a free event – all are welcome – http://www.bio2devicegroup.org.
3) Dr. Sarvajna Dwivedi, founder of Pearl Therapeutics will talk on Tuesday, May 6 at Cubberley, PA www.eppicglobal.org.  Pearl Therapeutics was acquired by Astra Zeneca last year, for $1.15 B and was a winner of TiEcon’s TiE50 awards, two years in a row.
4) Feel free to send me an email for details on any of these events at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com.  You can also follow my updates on Twitter @DarshanaN.  Also, do check out (in JOBS category on this blog), my job opportunities that include many Quality Engineering jobs in CA and MA and hot Software Embedded Engineer job and more.

 

 

 

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Healthcare Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, CA


Life Science Industry gearing up for Innovation:  Code-a-thon (Health Technology Forum), TiEcon, EPPIC event

Code-a-thons are fun and also highly productive live events that bring together developers, designers, innovators and entrepreneurs, brimming with new and exciting ideas on applications and tools for any given problem.  Health Technology Forum in San Francisco was formed with a mission to improve healthcare through technology.  In 2013, HTF organized a very successful code-a-thon that focused on serving the needs of the underserved populations. This year again, HTF has organized a code-a-thon to precede (by about a week to 10 days) its annual conference focused around the theme of Pathways to Sustainable Health, on May 20, at Parc 55, Wyndham Hotel, SF.  Additionally, HTF has proposed a series of events to follow the weekend code-a-thon challenge, including a unique second phase to enable the winning team to be placed on-site at one or more safety-net hospitals.  

DC Health Week Code-a-Thon 13109

DC Health Week Code-a-Thon 13109 (Photo credit: tedeytan)

2014 HTF Innovation Conference: Pathways to Sustainable...So how do code-a-thons help spur innovation?  These short and focused events often result in the rapid development of breakthrough concepts and working prototype applications.  Code-a-thons highlight a problem in need of a solution.  This spotlighting of the problem, with clarity around its challenges and opportunities, helps the problem to remain the primary focus of innovation, and not the technology.  This is a good mental discipline for enthusiastic bright innovators who tend to fall in love with their own idea, and often fail to pay heed to the needs of the market.  The ideas and technologies that come out of code-a-thons often lead to creation of actual products that can be deployed in the marketplace.  Further, if these innovators would receive coaching from stakeholders within the hospital centers then it is inevitable that the positive impact will be enormous and immediate, in creating new innovative solutions, for sustainable healthcare. Few can argue that our healthcare system needs an overhaul, and something that will greatly impact the transformation in the healthcare system is the impact that Big Data will have.  For instance, Big Data can help empower patients to be in charge of their own health.  From providing access to their medical records, to enabling continuous health monitoring, it will help inform and empower patients to be proactive managers of their own health.  Similarly, mounds of clinical and epidemiological data can lead to greater insights in diagnosis and therapeutics of various diseases.  The requirements of this particular code-a-thon will be centered around developing and designing the prototype of an app that supports the collection and communication of health care data about key diseases and behaviors. Please stay tuned for more information, and sign up for the code-a-thon and for the annual conference at www.healthtechnologyforum.com and follow them on twitter @healthtechforum.  You can follow me on twitter @DarshanaN.

Additionally, mark your calendar for 2 other interesting life science events.
May 16, 17 is #TiEcon 2014, the largest entrepreneurship conference, at Santa Clara Convention Center, CA.  The Healthcare Track on Day 2 will feature panels on exciting topics like “Harnessing Healthcare Data”, “Engaging Patients of the Future”, “Where the VCs are Investing in Healthcare” and more.  Register by May 1, for  www.tiecon.org through the link http://tinyurl.com/kr2hkcw as my guest and enter promo code tievalue to get $100 off.
May, 6 EPPIC event – EPPIC frequently spotlights success stories of local entrepreneurs and on My 6 at Cubberley in Palo Alto, will host Dr. Sarvajna Dwivedi, Founder of Pearl Therapeutics which was acquired last year, by Astra Zeneca for $1.15 B.  Register at www.eppicglobal.org.
http://www.bio2devicegroup.org is a group that meets every Tuesday, in Sunnyvale and hosts speakers on a wide range of healthcare topics.  Pre-registration required for “Second Tuesday of the month meetings” and all other meetings are free and open for walk-ins.  For information on any of these events, feel free to send me an email at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com.

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Rapid Non-Invasive Treatment for Stroke


Dr. Mark Borsody, Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Nervive Inc, spoke about stroke healthcare, at www.bio2devicegroup.org event.

Stroke has been a #1 cause of severe disability, #2 cause of death in the world (responsible for more than 5 million deaths, each year), and it is 4th leading cause of death in the US.  About 800,000 people in the US have stroke, each year.  One American dies from stroke, about every 4 minutes.  In fact, stroke is responsible for putting the biggest healthcare burden, worldwide and the burden is likely to increase in the foreseeable future, said Dr. Borsody.  Stroke results from “plumbing problem”, in the brain.  Ischemic stroke is caused by blockage of a blood vessel due to reasons like thrombosis or arterial embolism.  Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding of blood vessels of the brain, either directly into the brain or into the surrounding brain tissue.

While treatment options for hemorrhagic stroke are limited, current treatment options for ischemic stroke include intravenous “clot busting” through tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) or through endovascular catheter devices for blood clot retrieval.  Worldwide, an estimated 180,000 tPA treatments are done every year and 22,000 clot retrieval treatments are done.

Microphotograph of HE stained section of human...

Microphotograph of HE stained section of human brain tissue upon acute ischemic stroke. Orgininal magnification 400x (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Honing in on the major problem, Dr. Borsody discussed why do so few patients with stroke receive timely treatment.  Timely intervention is the key for treatment of stroke.  Like all cells in the body, neurons and other brain cells require oxygen and glucose delivered through the blood in order to function and survive.  A few minutes of oxygen deprivation can kill millions of neurons.  Additionally, stroke can provoke inflammation, swelling (edema), and other processes that can continue the damage for hours or days after the initial attack.  However, often treatment of stroke within 60 minutes is very rare due to the time required for patient transportation and in-hospital evaluation.  Effective treatment for stroke can be simple, but it needs to be immediate.  So how come there aren’t many innovations to bring the treatment to the patient, even to buy them some time?

Nervive’s Vital Flow Stimulator is a simple device that is aimed at targeting the facial nerve behind the middle ear.  The objective is to control the cerebral arteries through the facial nerve, which regulates the function of the arteries.  It is comprised of 3-4 cm coil placed over the ear.  Magnetic fields readily penetrate any tissue and creates electrical currents in neural tissues, leading to axonal and soma depolarization.  Early indications are that it is effective in treating ischemic stroke and it is safe in ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.  This device is moreover, simple enough to use without any special training.  Vital Flow complements other therapies and bring exponential benefits of rapid treatments.  The device will be inexpensive, portable, and extremely easy to transport in the ambulance.  The treatment can be administered within a few minutes.  Animal studies show increased blood flow after facial nerve stimulation and improvement in several measures after stroke.

Ending his talk, Dr. Borsody said, Nervive has a strong IP position, the technology is targeting a market with huge potential, and it is substantiated by preclinical and clinical science.  They are starting fund raising for series A round.  To emerge from the dark ages of stroke healthcare, we need some disruptive, out of box (out of hospital) thinking, said Dr Borsody.
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Mark your calendars for following events……..

May, 6 – EPPIC will host Dr. Sarvajna Dwivedi, Founder, Pearl Therapeutics that was acquired by Astra Zeneca for $1.15B, last year.  Register at http://www.eppicglobal.org, @EPPIC_GLOBAL
May 16, 17 – #TiEcon 2014 will feature Healthcare Track to showcase and discuss new innovative technologies in Life Science and healthcare industries, @TiEcon
May, 2014 – Healthcare Code-a-thon will be hosted by http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com @HealthTechForum
May 20, 2014 – “Pathways to Sustainable Health” conference hosted by http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com
You can follow me on Twitter at @DarshanaN
Every Tuesday exciting speaker – http://www.bio2devicegroup.org

 

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