Thursday, March 5, 2015

Treating Cancer Tumors is One Implantable Device Away

Chemotherapy stops or slows the growth of cancer cells, but it also damages healthy cells. Researchers are exploring treatments that attack cancer cells with better precision, thus reducing the risk of harming healthy tissue. A team of scientists has developed just such a technique, called iontophoresis, which uses an electric field to deliver high concentrations of chemotherapy to select areas.

"A big challenge with many drugs is getting them where they need to go," said Lissett Bickford, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Virginia Tech and a co-author of the study. "(Iontophoresis) basically forces drugs directly to and through the tumor, allowing all cancer cells in the treatment zone to get that exposure."

Iontophoresis uses an electric field to push drugs into the tumor. A small device that generates the electric field is implanted in the tumor or placed on the skin. The device also contains a reservoir of chemotherapy. When activated, the electric field pushes the drug into the entire tumor.

In mice with human inflammatory breast cancer, treatment with both iontophoresis and regular intravenous chemotherapy increased survival time as compared with either treatment alone. Treating mice with iontophoresis after intravenous chemotherapy treatment boosted the concentration of the drug in the tumor, but barely raised the concentration in the blood plasma. This indication suggests there could be fewer side effects, an all-too-common complaint associated with chemotherapy.

The researchers say iontophoresis effectively delivered the drug despite pressure from the surrounding area of the tumor, a common complication in drug treatment strategies. This pressure, which is caused by leaks from the blood vessels of the tumor, often inhibits or complicates other drug delivery strategies.
Iontophoresis could allow doctors to use more potent cancer-fighting drugs by localizing their effects or pave the way for new multi-drug combinations by better aiming the more toxic compounds at the tumor and freeing the rest of the body from their harmful effects.

"This may ultimately lead to a reduction in the morbidity and mortality rates commonly found in different types of cancer," says James Byrne, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher and medical student at the University of North Carolina.

According to a BCC Research report (BIO048C), newer therapies like iontophoresis and others will surpass conventional cancer therapies and propel sales in the global cancer therapy market to $111 billion in 2019. The U.S. National Institutes of Health estimated the overall cost of cancer in the United States was $206.3 billion in 2006, with $78.2 billion in direct medical costs.

For our BCC Research reports on cancer, visit the following links:
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Green Innovation that Protects and Strengthens: Eco-Friendly Flame Retardant for Timber Buildings

In Australia, the effects of global warming have raised concerns about the methods used to fire-proof buildings made of timber, a necessary precaution in a country whose torrid summer heat and parched climate pose significant fire hazards. However, most of the current methods for fire-proofing timber materials involve substances that are toxic to human health and the environment.
Flame retardants rely on chemical reactions that impede the ignition of flammable materials and slow the spread of a fire. But the benefits of safeguarding homes and property while protecting humans from fire danger must be weighed against the risk of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
To address that challenge, researchers from Stony Brook University have developed a new type of timber flame retardant that’s not only sustainable and environmentally friendly, but also increases the strength of treated materials dramatically. The flame retardant consists of a phosphorus-based compound called resorcinol bis (RDP), which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared a preferred substitute for halogenated flame retardants.
According to Miriam Rafailovich, Distinguished Professor from Stony Brook's Department of Materials science and co-director of the Program in Chemical and Molecular Engineering, the compound penetrates the natural structure of timber materials and interacts with its cellulose, producing a wood-plastic composite that surpasses UL94 V-0 flammability standards. This means that a vertical specimen of the material will stop burning in as few as 10 seconds when set alight, without giving off any lit particles.
"The breakthrough was in the formulation of a compound that extinguishes a flame without decomposing into toxic byproducts," Rafailovich said.
Testing by Stony Brook medical experts also concluded that timber materials treated using RDP pose no hazard to human health, despite the material itself being cytotoxic when in a liquid, unreacted state. Another advantage of the treatment process is that can dramatically improve the durability of timber materials by reinforcing their cellulose structure, increasing their strength by as much as five-fold. The university has filed an application for patent acquisition.
According to a BCC Research report, global consumption of flame retardant chemicals should reach 5 billion pounds in 2018, nearly a billion more than the level in 2013. The report forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% between 2013 and 2018. Cost, performance, lack of toxicity, recycling concerns and the push toward more green and non-halogenated products will influence the smallest to the largest manufacturers of flame retardant chemicals.
For our BCC Research reports on flame retardant chemicals, visit the following links:
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

No Pain Doubles the Gain: Cost-Efficient Needle-Free Technology Transforming the Healthcare Industry

For years researchers have sought alternatives to the finger-pricking method for measuring blood glucose levels. People with diabetes typically test their glucose levels several times a day by pricking their finger and analyzing their blood. But the pain of this constant finger-pricking drives many patients to avoid checking their blood sugar levels, which places them at higher risk for poor health.
Needle-free devices and technologies offer alternatives to needles and syringes that avoid the issues of needle phobia, needlestick injuries and the transmission of blood-borne diseases. Because needle-free devices are painless, effective and safe drug delivery methods, pharmaceutical companies will continue to invest billions on new delivery technologies during the next five to 10 years. Also, continuous innovation and availability of newer needle-free drug delivery systems have the potential to deliver highly viscous drug products that traditional needle and syringe methods are unable to administer, adding to the utility of the technology.
In the glucose monitoring segment of the needle-free drug delivery market, a new invention may offer people with diabetes relief from the pain of the finger-pricking method. Researcher Amay Bandodkar and his colleagues at Professor Joseph Wang’s laboratory at the University of California at San Diego have created a flexible sensor that measures a person’s blood sugar levels using a mild electrical current.  The device, a thin tattoo paper printed with electrodes of silver and silver chloride ink and a blood glucose sensor made of a glucose-sensitive enzyme, is applied to the skin like a rub-on tattoo. A mild electrical current applied to the skin for 10 minutes draws sodium ions, which carry glucose molecules, from the fluid between skin cells toward the electrodes. The sensor in the tattoo then measures the strength of the electrical charge produced by the glucose to determine blood sugar levels.
The tattoo sensor currently doesn’t provide a readout of glucose measures (the device has to be removed and analyzed for that), but researchers are working on that particular feature. According to Bandodkar, “The readout instrument will also eventually have Bluetooth capabilities to send this information directly to the patient's doctor in real-time, or store data in the cloud. The team is also working on ways to make the tattoo last longer while keeping its overall cost down, he added. In its current form, the device lasts for about a day and costs a few cents.
Needle-free devices like the tattoo sensor and other technologies are driving growth in the needle-free drug delivery markets. The global market for needle-free drug delivery technologies is expected to almost double from $1.1 billion in 2014 to $2.1 billion in 2019, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.3%. Within the needle-free device and technology market, the needle-free injector segment is anticipated as one of the fastest growing segments.
For our BCC Research report on needle-free drug delivery technologies, visit the following link:
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Breast Cancer Deaths Declining as Detection and Treatment Improve

According to GLOBOCAN 2012, there were 14.1 million new cancer cases, 8.2 million cancer deaths and a staggering 32.6 million people living with cancer (within five years of diagnosis) worldwide in 2012. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that currently, about one-third of the world’s cancer burden can be decreased if cancer cases are detected earlier and treatment is provided immediately.

Breast cancer in particular is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women with nearly 1.7 million new cases diagnosed worldwide in 2012. . According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), more than 200,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer annually.
Early detection and new treatments have improved survival rates for breast cancer patients, helping the five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with cancer to reach nearly 80%. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989; these decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment. Sales of breast cancer diagnostic and drug technologies reached about $22.3 billion globally in 2014 and are expected to reach $27 billion in 2019, equating to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% (2014–2019).

According to El Camino Hospital’s Radiologist Dr. Sila Yitta, routine mammograms and self-screening are the best defense, although many women don't always take advantage. "In my experience it is hit or miss; some women are consistent in doing breast exams at home, some women don't do them at all," Yitta said.

New experimental technology could help thousands of women and doctors screen for breast cancer in a new way, revolutionizing the screening process. A device called  iTBra by Cyrcadia Health is about to begin its clinical trials in the Bay Area, California, USA. Rather than a mammogram or ultrasound, this system can be used at home, with potentially life-saving information transmitted through a smartphone.

The clinical trial being conducted at El Camino Hospital will study the results on women wearing the device for different lengths of time. The goal is to produce accurate readings in roughly two hours, ultimately making the system more convenient for women to use. If the trial is successful, Cyrcadia Health hopes to have the iTBra on the market later this year.
Cancer Vaccines: Technologies and Global Markets (PHM173A)

Cyrcadia Health CEO Rob Royea says, "It's a wearable device with a number of sensors that check what happens with your circadian patterns of heat change on your breast over time." The results are then processed using sophisticated algorithms and transmitted to a smartphone. "You wear the device for a few hours, and that information is automatically communicated to your physician," Royea added.

Because the system is heat based, developers believe it may also offer advantages for some women with denser breast tissue, which can be more difficult to image using traditional mammography.

In addition to R&D efforts in early detection, improved cancer treatment is making a difference as well, resulting in fewer mastectomies. "The therapeutic approaches to breast cancer have changed radically since the 1990s," say Stefano Zurrida, MD, and Umberto Veronesi, MD, from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, "and the pace of change shows no signs of slacking."

For related BCC Research market analysis reports on breast cancer, visit the following links:
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015 FLAME CONFERENCE - Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials

Losses caused by fire are disastrous. Most notable are the victims and firefighters who are killed and injured. Displacement and devastation of property can be significant. Economic losses are huge; countries globally spend a not-insignificant portion of their GDP on loss, prevention, and firefighting. Accordingly, there are people and companies worldwide dedicated to fire prevention and protection, and the development of fireproof, non-burning, flame retardant, and flame resistant materials, without whom the losses would be orders of magnitude greater. We salute them.

For 25 years, BCC Research has hosted “the Flame Conference,” as a forum for people in the fire retardant (FR) industry to meet, share, and learn from each other. The conference – called Annual Conference on Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials – focuses on the development of flame retardant chemicals and materials such as plastics, textiles, and surface coatings that inhibit, suppress, or delay the production of flames to prevent the spread of fire.

Now in its 26th year, the Flame Conference is the premier fire retardant (FR) event in the United States. It brings together scientists and other technical specialists for an intensive seminar that fosters learning and networking among the industry’s best and brightest. The single track of sessions covers both the government/academia and commercial/industrial sectors.
“If you want to know about the latest breakthrough in flame retardant research, the Flame Conference is the conference to attend,” said one of the Conference’s attendees in 2014. Another commented, “…it was very good to hear from companies… that offer real world products that are cost effective.... Everything starts in the lab but at some point it has to be viable for the market not just in efficacy but in cost, processing, and value in use.”
The 2015 Flame Conference is scheduled to be held from May 17th to 20th, 2015 in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. Register now to take advantage of this opportunity as seating is limited. Each year this intelligent and intimate conference brings back many of the same attendees, who rely on it as an irreplaceable and on-point source of knowledge about the science, technology, design, and manufacture of flame-retardant materials and coatings.
For information on the 2015 Flame Conference, visit
For information on a BCC Research report on the flame retardant chemicals market, visit
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Will Gene-edited Stem Cells Hold the Key to Fighting HIV/AIDS?

In a research conducted at Harvard University, a new gene-editing technique was used to create what could prove to be an effective method for blocking HIV from invading and destroying patients' immune systems. The work was led by Chad Cowan and Derrick Rossi, Associate Professors in Harvard's Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB). 
This is the first published report of the Harvard researchers using CRISPR/Cas technology to efficiently and precisely edit clinically relevant genes out of cells collected directly from people, in this case human blood-forming stem cells and T-cells, researchers said. 

In theory, such gene-edited stem cells could be introduced into HIV patients via bone marrow transplantation—the procedure used to transplant blood stem cells into leukemia patients, to give rise to HIV-resistant immune systems. 

Human Immunodeficiency Virus or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is one of the most catastrophic threats to human health in the world. Improved treatment options and methods of diagnosis have helped to moderate the growth of the epidemic, presenting opportunities for companies prepared to engage actively in this field. However, the management of HIV/AIDS is still, in many respects, a very significant threat, and there is an ongoing, urgent need for promising new research as well as optimal exploitation of the treatment and diagnostic options already developed.
According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), there were 35 million people across the globe living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 2012. In 2012, 1.6 million people died of HIV/AIDS, including 1.2 million AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to a BCC Research report, in 2012 the HIV therapeutics market was worth $17.5 billion. The global market is expected to peak at $20.9 billion in 2016 and will shrink back to $19.6 billion in 2018, representing an overall compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.5%. The patent expiration of leading antiretroviral drugs and the subsequent introduction of generic drugs will create cost pressures that will drive overall revenues down, resulting in suppressed market revenue growth.
Though this new approach to HIV therapy might be ready for human safety trials in less than five years, the researchers are still cautious about celebrating victory. Even if this new approach works perfectly, further developments need to be carried out before they are introduced in the global market.
For more information on a BCC Research market report about HIV therapeutics and diagnostics, visit the following link:

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Growing Prevalence of a Silent Killer— Diabetes

The number of people around the world suffering from diabetes has skyrocketed in the last two decades, from 30 million to 230 million, claiming millions of lives and severely taxing the ability of health care systems to deal with the epidemic, according to data released by the International Diabetes Federation. The demographics of the diabetes epidemic are also changing rapidly at the same time. While the growing problem of diabetes in the United States has been well documented, the federation’s data shows that 7 of the 10 countries with the highest number of diabetics are in the developing world.

Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease; it appears in childhood, is lifelong, and currently must be treated with insulin. Type II diabetes typically appears in middle age. It is linked to obesity and therefore is more prevalent in developed countries with relatively affluent lifestyles, sedentary occupations, and dietary overindulgence. 
According to the American Diabetes Association's journal, Diabetes Care, Asia accounts for 60% of the world's diabetic population. In recent decades, Asia has undergone rapid economic development, urbanization, and transitions in nutritional status. China now has the largest number of diabetics over age 20, around 39 million people or about 2.7 percent of the adult population, according to the federation. The group also mentions India with the second largest number of cases with an estimated 30 million people, or about 6 percent of the adult population.
There are many factors driving the growth in diabetes worldwide, but most experts agree that changes in lifestyle and diet are the chief culprits, in addition to genetic predisposition. As developing countries rapidly industrialize, people tend to do work involving less physical activity. At the same time, the availability of food that is cheap but high in calories becomes more common.

Typically, type II diabetes occurs after a person becomes obese, when insulin resistance occurs;  the diabetes comes next. When this occurs, the cells do not respond properly to insulin; glucose does not enter the cells and blood glucose (sugar) levels rise. When fat is stored in the "wrong" places (blood vessels, heart and muscles) in the body, insulin resistance is much more likely to occur. Experts are not sure exactly how the association works.

The most common treatment for type II diabetes today involves initially placing the patient on a special diet; sometimes they may need to take pills that increase insulin secretion and also make the cells more sensitive to insulin. Occasionally they are given tablets to bring down the production of glucose. However, after a few years, for about one-third of all patients these treatments gradually lose their efficacy and insulin injections are needed. 

The most effective treatment today, however, to prevent type II diabetes onset among very obese patients is bariatric surgery.

World-renowned British specialist Dr David Cavan, Director of policy at the International Diabetes Federation, hands patients a lifeline with a simple regime that can reduce the devastating effects of type II diabetes. His plan includes adopting a healthy diet, getting support from your family, boosting exercise, assessing current diabetes drugs, keeping up to date with monitoring the condition – and, finally, being realistic about what you want to achieve.
According to Dr Cadan, people with type II diabetes will be motivated to change their lifestyle if they realize that it is possible to become free from diabetes rather than if they think that whatever they do, they will always have it. He added that reducing sugar and understanding that some starchy carbohydrates have almost the same effect as eating sugar can bring about swift changes.
According to the International Diabetes Federation and other major professional organizations, the global population of individuals with diabetes (type I and II) was about 240 million in 2010, and is expected to rise to 300 million by 2025.  The corresponding market of products used to diagnose and treat diabetes was $118.7 billion for 2012, and is expected to rise to almost $157 billion over the next five years.  The market for monitoring equipment stands at approximately $14 billion and is set to rise toward $21 billion by 2017.

Working towards introducing innovative solutions in this area, French pharmaceutical company, Servier, is planning to pioneer a tiny drug-loaded implantable pump, developed by a Boston-based start-up, Intarcia Therapeutics Inc., which is anticipated to transform the global market for patients with diabetes.

Servier has agreed to pay Intarcia Therapeutics Inc. $171 million up front, with potential additional payments that could increase the total to more than $1 billion, for rights to co-develop the device for most markets outside the U.S., the companies said. Closely held Intarcia retains full rights to the treatment for the U.S. and Japan. The pump hasn’t yet been approved for sale; the companies plan to submit it to regulators in the first half of 2016.

In Sweden, the researchers from Stockholm University say that they have uncovered a new mechanism that encourages glucose uptake in brown fat. They explain that brown fat's main function is to create heat by burning fat and sugar. By using this new knowledge, the researchers say they may be able to stimulate this signalling pathway with drugs, lowering blood sugar levels and potentially even curing type II diabetes.
The brown fat is active in adults, acting as one of the bodily tissues that can be encouraged to take up large amounts of glucose from the bloodstream to use as a fuel source to create body heat, the researchers said. As such, increasing the uptake of glucose in brown fat can quickly decrease blood sugar levels, they added.
In a person with the condition, the body's tissues are unable to respond to insulin, rendering them unable to take up sugar from the blood. Because insulin is released after eating to regulate blood sugar, when the insulin signal no longer functions properly, blood sugar levels rise. Very high blood sugar levels are dangerous to organs in the body and can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, peripheral nervous system damage, amputations and even early death.
"This is completely new and groundbreaking research," Prof. Tore Bengtsson of Stockholm University's Department of Molecular Biosciences said.
On December 20, 2006, the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution to designate November 14 as World Diabetes Day. The occasion aimed to raise awareness of diabetes, its prevention and complications and the care that people with the condition need. World Diabetes Day was first commemorated on November 14, 2007, and is observed annually.
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