How Valeant had a bright idea but took it too far
There are three types of Valeant criticisms that often get lumped together:
- It attacked the traditional approach that corporate R&D was the only thing that mattered in pharmaceuticals, which upset a lot of entrenched stakeholders
- It did some things that were morally questionable but perfectly legal (e.g., price optimization, inversions)
- It did some things that were morally questionable and legally gray (e.g., the specialty pharmacy incident)
This article does a great job of pointing out that the outrage over #2 and #3 mask the success that Valeant had with #1. There’s no reason to believe that corporate R&D is inherently better for the world than biotechs, and you could certainly see a smart, talented scientist preferring the fast-paced startup culture of a biotech based in Boston to a large corporate based in New Jersey.
Doctors can now successfully 3D print a knee joint
While this footage isn’t as exciting as I’d like it to be – I’d really prefer a big old gross close-up of a splayed knee joint – what it represents is pretty wonderful. Essentially, doctors at the Columbia University Medical Center have been able to print a knee meniscus using a degradable plastic scaffold and a protein growth system. The body then subsumes the printed object and turns the protein into a knee joint.
Subway more unhealthy than McDonald’s?
In the end, it’s not where you eat but what you choose off the menu that matters — and eating at Subway is just as likely to make you fat as pulling up to the drive-thru at McDonald’s, researchers concluded.
Scientists make ‘laboratory-grown’ kidney
A kidney “grown” in the laboratory has been transplanted into animals where it started to produce urine, US scientists say.
Similar techniques to make simple body parts have already been used in patients, but the kidney is one of the most complicated organs made so far.
(via Dashiell Bennett)
Self-destructing cancer drug
For the first time ever, three pharmaceutical companies are poised to test whether new drugs can work against a wide range of cancers independently of where they originated — breast, prostate, liver, lung. The drugs go after an aberration involving a cancer gene fundamental to tumor growth. Many scientists see this as the beginning of a new genetic age in cancer research.
Great uncertainties remain, but such drugs could mean new treatments for rare, neglected cancers, as well as common ones. Merck, Roche and Sanofi are racing to develop their own versions of a drug they hope will restore a mechanism that normally makes badly damaged cells self-destruct and could potentially be used against half of all cancers.
Latest review of the cell phone-cancer link
Despite a recent move to classify mobile phones as possibly carcinogenic, the scientific evidence increasingly points away from a link between their use and brain tumors, according to a new study on Saturday.
(via Amar Toor)