FDA Efforts To Warn Smokers Temporarily Halted

In a continuing effort to educate the public on the dangers of cigarette smoking, the FDA intended to require cigarette manufacturers to post large, graphic images on packages of cigarettes. This effort has been temporarily halted by an injunction passed down from U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon last month. The FDA’s law blog explains that Judge Leon felt the warnings were not “purely factual and noncontroversial disclosures” and that “the Government’s actual purpose is not to inform, but rather to advocate a change in consumer behavior.”

Graphic images on cigarette packs

The GE Healthymagination Initiative Against Cancer

In September, GE and leading healthcare and financial partners launched a new healthymagination initiative focused on accelerating cancer innovation and improving care for 10 million cancer patients around the world by 2020 [1]. The plan was announced in New York by GE’s CEO and Chairman Jeff Immelt to an audience of prominent cancer scientists and researchers, doctors, financial partners and employees of GE Healthcare. The company’s comprehensive initiative combines the strength of GE’s portfolio of integrated cancer technologies with collaboration between GE and new partners and data sources to help clinicians provide better, more personalized care.

GE accelerates cancer fight

Accountable Care Organizations Aim to Fundamentally Change the Healthcare System

Last Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the highly anticipated final regulations for accountable care organizations (ACOs) under Section 3022 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [1]. The PPACA requires accountable-care agreements to be offered under Medicare, starting in 2012.

Healthcare team

The Politics, Public Health and Environmental Concerns of Genetically Engineered Salmon

So-called “Frankenfood” — genetically-modified organisms meant for human consumption or use as animal feed — has been making headlines again. This time, the buzz is over the FDA’s recent completion of their evaluation of the first genetically-engineered (GE) salmon meant for human consumption, the AquAdvantage salmon. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget is now reviewing the evaluation, which puts the AquAdvantage salmon one critical step closer to finding its way into farms and onto plates. While the GE salmon would be the first genetically-modified animal approved for human consumption, it’s not the first genetically-modified organism (GMO) used for food; data from 2009 indicate that 93% of soy and cotton, and 86% of corn grown in the U.S. are GMO [1]. There are a number of other common GMO crops, and GMO rice will likely become available soon.

Alaskan King Salmon

Activation of the Immune System and the Nobel Prize for Medicine

nobel medal in medicineThe 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was announced on Monday. The prize was awarded to three scientists for their work on the body’s immune system.

The prize of 10-million-Swedish-krona (US$1.5-million) was divided, one half jointly to Bruce A. Beutler, age 54, at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, and Jules A. Hoffmann, age 70, at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology in Strasbourg, for their discovery of receptor proteins that can recognize bacteria and other microorganisms and activate innate immunity, and the other half to Ralph M. Steinman, age 68, at Rockefeller University in New York, for his discovery of dendritic cells of the immune system and their unique capacity to activate and regulate adaptive immunity, the later stage of the immune response during which microorganisms are cleared from the body.