In the News: July 20–26
Sg2 is dedicated to helping our clients interpret the latest news and trends in health care. Below you’ll find our analysis of this week’s key industry headlines, along with links to related Sg2 resources.
Major Immunotherapy Advance Set for FDA Approval
Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, called CAR-T cell immunotherapy, has been unanimously recommended for approval by the FDA; if it passes, this will mark the first time the FDA has approved anything considered a “gene therapy product.” The new cancer treatment works by genetically engineering T cells from a patient’s immune system to only attack cancer cells, while leaving healthy tissues untouched.
Sg2 believes that precision medicine will continue to play an increasingly integral part in the cancer care pathway, offering patient-specific approaches to screening, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring. To learn more about growth opportunities in cancer services, read the Sg2 report: Cancer Service Line Forecast 2017.
Rural, Suburban and Urban EMS Response Times Reviewed
In a recent JAMA Surgery study, 1.7 million emergency medical service (EMS) runs, classified as rural, suburban or urban, from 485 agencies were analyzed to assess the disparities in arrival time, and their implications, between geographic areas. The study identified the average urban and suburban wait times to be 6 minutes, while the average rural wait time was 13 minutes. The additional 7 minutes of wait time for rural areas carries negative implications for patients; however, it provides opportunity for the exploration of additional avenues for timely patient care.
Sg2 experts feel there is opportunity to establish innovative partnerships and care pathways to provide effective care to rural patients. To learn more about improving access to rural areas, read the Sg2 Expert Insight: Collaborating With Rural Providers to Find Growth.
Direct-to-Consumer Genomics Are on the Rise
Three months after consumer genetics firm 23andMe received FDA approval for disease risk assessments, new tech start-up Helix is launching a “DNA app store.” Helix offers selective genomic sequencing, with a series of lifestyle-friendly applications designed to help consumers understand and interpret their genomic data. The apps span a variety of categories (eg, ancestry, fitness, health, nutrition) and have garnered interest from major providers like Mayo Clinic and Mount Sinai Health System.
While these products are gaining popularity among consumers, some scientists express concern about the dangers of providing information to consumers who may not be able to evaluate clinical usefulness and value. Further, the results of these tests can be extremely difficult to interpret and even misleading. To hear Sg2 experts discuss the implications of consumer genomics (and more), listen to the Sg2 tech netcast: Health Tech Weekly: Ordering Some New Genes… Tests.