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Med Tech Roundup: Eight-Day Cancer Cure and other Quick Fixes

doctor hands

A new gene therapy has been found to cure leukemia in eight days. Five patients with a fatal diagnosis received the treatment, and only one of them succumbed. A doctor from Sloane-Kettering will now lead a second trial with fifty patients.

That isn’t the only good news for the fight against cancer. The WSJ recently reported on a new attempt to compile information on “hundreds of thousands” of cancer patients into a searchable database. Doctors consulting the database could see how patients similar to their own responded to various treatments. It’s such a good idea, one wonders why it hasn’t happened already:

“Some 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, but in more than 95% of cases, details of their treatments are ‘locked up in medical records and file drawers or in electronic systems not connected to each other,’ said Allen Lichter, chief executive office of ASCO. ‘There is a treasure trove of information inside those cases if we simply bring them together.’

Getting all this data in one place is just one of the many types of low-hanging fruit in health care reform. The WSJ reported yesterday on the growth of medical imaging sharing. New services are reducing the costs of repeat medical scans by allowing hospitals to transfer the scans to each other directly over a secure electronic network. Patients can now get a same-day second opinion from a doctor across the country without having to pay for the trip or a second scan. Essentially, this is Dropbox for doctors.

An alert reader also drew our attention to a new mobile app that is launching this April. The app, by a company called Medicast, connects patients with a licensed doctor who will conduct a home visit within two hours. For now, it’s only launching in South Florida, but it will likely expand if successful.

This is the kind of tech that can bring down health care (and gas) costs, streamline services, and shift the system away from unnecessary hospital visits.

[Image of Doctor’s Hands in Computer from Shutterstock]

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