Vital Record Your source for health news from the Texas A&M Health Science Center 2015-05-22T19:52:13Z http://news.tamhsc.edu/feed/atom/ Elizabeth Grimm <![CDATA[Advil, Aleve and Tylenol: What’s the difference?]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23447 2015-05-21T02:02:59Z 2015-05-19T13:45:39Z Advil, Aleve and Tylenol are all common over-the-counter pain-relievers and fever-reducers that are often viewed as interchangeable. However, there are certain situations when one medication may work better than the others. To help navigate when to choose which of these common over-the-counter medications, Dr. Potter offers some information about each pain and fever-reducer]]>

You wake up with a terrible headache, a sore muscle or yesterday’s sunburn is bothering you, and shuffle your way to your medicine cabinet. You open the cabinet, hoping to find something to help with the pain and discomfort, but find yourself faced with three choices: Advil, Aleve and Tylenol. Which one should you take? What are the differences to consider before taking?

“All of these pharmaceuticals are useful to treat pain and reduce fever, which is why they’re such common occurrences in households,” said David E. Potter, Ph.D., professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences with the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. “However, there are some instances where one of these medicines may work better than its counterparts.”

To help navigate when to choose which of these common over-the-counter medications, Potter offers the following information about each pain and fever-reducer:

An assortment of red and white pills spread out over a white background.

Advil, Aleve and Tylenol are common over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers, but they shouldn’t always be used interchangeably.

Tylenol (acetaminophen)

Acetaminophen (Tylenol’s generic name) is a popular option for treating cold and flu-like symptoms, but Potter cautions that users need to be aware of how much they take in a day. Since acetaminophen is often combined with other over-the-counter cold medications that contain fever-reducing ingredients, people may end up taking multiple doses and exceeding the daily limitations.

“More than Advil and Aleve, Tylenol has a definite dosage ceiling of 325 milligrams per pill or capsule. Additionally, people should avoid taking more than 3000 milligrams per day, or they might begin to experience liver toxicity,” Potter warned.

People with liver disease, or who have consumed alcohol regularly, should be especially wary of the dosage they consume as unintentional overdosing can result in severe liver damage or even failure. Fortunately, these serious complications can be avoided if treated within 24 hours. Potter explains that the most common symptoms of acetaminophen overdose are lethargy (a sluggish state) and nausea or vomiting. If an individual exhibits these symptoms, they should seek medical attention within 24 hours, if possible.

Unlike its counterparts, acetaminophen does not possess any anti-inflammatory effects. For injuries like a sprain or discomfort from arthritis, Tylenol will not treat the pain as effectively as Advil or Aleve.

However, in the case of viral infections in young children and infants, acetaminophen’s can lower temperature effectively. In these situations, Tylenol is a better option to reduce fever than aspirin, Advil or Aleve. In all cases, be sure to adjust the dosage accordingly for the child’s age.

Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen sodium)

As far as anti-inflammatories go, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium have almost identical attributes. The main discriminating factors between the two are the active duration of each dose – Aleve is advertised as lasting almost four hours longer than Advil – and that naproxen causes a higher instance of photosensitivity (sensitivity to light).

For injuries or inflammatory symptoms, either ibuprofen or naproxen can both reduce inflammation or swelling and manage the pain. However, in the case of prolonged exposure to the sun or tanning, ibuprofen is probably a better alternative to naproxen.

Although most people have these medications or are aware of them, Potter suggests that not everybody should use these as their primary form of pain management.

“With ibuprofen and naproxen, there are higher incidences of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding or ulcers that can occur in people predisposed to peptic ulcer disease. When taking either medication, it’s recommended that individuals take them with food to help with any GI discomfort. People who are predisposed to GI disorders should generally try to avoid ibuprofen or naproxen so as not to exacerbate symptoms and damage to the intestinal lining,” Potter said.

So if you wake up with a headache, any one of the three will help manage pain. If you’re combatting sore muscles or arthritis, either ibuprofen or naproxen are your best bet to treat inflammation; and if that sunburn is bothering you, or you like to use suntan beds, stick with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

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Zoe Clement <![CDATA[6 tips for better sleep]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23291 2015-05-21T02:03:13Z 2015-05-19T13:15:21Z Getting a good night's rest can be pretty challenging. Even if you know you're tired, sometimes falling asleep feels like an impossible task. This guide contains six easy tips for those of you that struggle with insomnia or other annoying sleep issues. Find out what you're doing that could be hindering you body's ability to shut down at night]]>

Learn more about sleep disorders and what may be causing you to stay awake at night.

BetterSleep-02

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Rae Lynn Mitchell <![CDATA[School of Public Health receives federal grant to establish maternal and child health program]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23435 2015-05-14T21:04:10Z 2015-05-14T20:50:20Z The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded a $350,000, 5-year grant to support the creation of the interdisciplinary program in maternal and child health at the school]]>
Mother with Child

Graduate students will have the option to pursue classes in maternal and child health.

Improving the health of mothers and children in Texas is the goal of the new maternal and child health program at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health.

The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded a $350,000, 5-year grant to support the creation of the interdisciplinary program in maternal and child health at the school. Brandie Taylor, Ph.D., will direct the program that will help to address the current maternal and child health public health needs of the state.

Brandie Taylor, Ph.D.

Brandie Taylor, Ph.D.

The program will expose students to foundational maternal and child health content through coursework, seminars and research. Taylor will work with co-director, Eva Shipp, Ph.D., to develop graduate-level coursework in maternal and child health. They will collaborate with the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Census Research Data Center, and prenatal clinics to develop training, research and internship opportunities.

Funding will also be used to provide students scholarships for directed research with maternal and child health faculty as well as travel to maternal and child health conferences.

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Carolyn Cox <![CDATA[Are we ready for another pandemic? Panel session explores strategies for readiness and resilience]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23428 2015-05-13T19:24:49Z 2015-05-13T19:24:49Z The influenza pandemic of 2009 and more recent threats involving Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Ebola revealed national preparedness gaps, a topic explored extensively at the George H.W. Bush Sixth China-U.S. Relations Conference in Houston. Remedies are essential to avoid future high-consequence emergencies that could threaten large segments of our populations, economies and infrastructure]]>

Doctor treating a patientThe influenza pandemic of 2009 and more recent threats involving Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Ebola revealed national preparedness gaps, a topic explored extensively at the George H.W. Bush Sixth China-U.S. Relations Conference in Houston.

Remedies are essential to avoid future high-consequence emergencies that could threaten large segments of our populations, economies and infrastructure.

While concerns regarding Ebola are most recent, lessons can be learned from other recent outbreaks of the past 15 years including SARS.

“Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was an important wake up call for the Chinese government and its entire health care system, including the ability to respond to such emergencies,” said Zijian Feng, M.D., MPH, deputy general director of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “China’s public health systems improved tremendously. We established Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in cities and counties; they are quite modernized with up-to-date equipment and human resource development as well. We refined our disease outbreak monitoring system and established an emergency response team we can deploy in a very efficient manner.”

“We are trying to address a wide range of threats, and more rapidly develop threat-specific countermeasures,” said panel speaker Michael G. Kurilla, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Office of BioDefense, Research Resources, and Translational Research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We have to be ready for things we are fully aware of, but also something new and unexpected.”

In addition to Feng and Kurilla, other panelists included:

  • Panel Moderator Robert Kadlec, M.D., deputy staff director, Select Committee on Intelligence, United States Senate, and former special assistant to the President and senior director for biodefense policy, Homeland Security Council
  • Rajeev Venkayya, D., president, Global Vaccine Business Unit Takeda Pharmaceuticals and former special assistant to the President for biodefense policy
  • Rear Admiral Kenneth Bernard (USPHS, Ret.), former special assistant to the President for biodefense policy
  • Professor Kaibin Zhong, Chinese Academy of Governance

The panel offered the chance for some of the world’s most influential physicians, scientists, policymakers, government officials and business leaders to explore issues such as the successes and failures of the response to Ebola and how a collective approach by countries such as the U.S. and China can assist in global efforts to respond to the “inevitable next time.”

“You can’t expect a health system to suddenly appear overnight,” Vankayya said. “Nations cobbling together a response in real time is really unacceptable.” He recognized the impact of health care workers who respond to crises for selfless reasons. “In the Ebola response we saw people from China, the U.S. and other places choosing to go for humanitarian reasons. We also have the moral compass here and we should broadcast that more.”

Panelists offered insights related to advanced planning, streamlined processes and establishing vast collaborations to better prepare for future needs in the detection, treatment and prevention of infectious disease.

The China-U.S. Relations Conference united delegations from the two countries in the monumental planning and promotion of this event, which convened for the sixth time. Conference hosts included the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Peking University Health Science Center, Texas A&M University and the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

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Carolyn Cox <![CDATA[Public Health Preparedness in the Developing World: How do China and the U.S. Provide Leadership?]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23424 2015-05-13T18:58:19Z 2015-05-13T16:40:53Z Public health threats know no boundaries, and global security depends upon preparedness and collaboration in establishing sustainable public health systems around the world, said a panel of high-ranking experts at the George H.W. Bush Sixth China-U.S. Relations Conference hosted by Texas A&M Health Science Center in Houston]]>

VaccinesPublic health threats know no boundaries, and global security depends upon preparedness and collaboration in establishing sustainable public health systems around the world, said a panel of high-ranking experts at the George H.W. Bush Sixth China-U.S. Relations Conference hosted in Houston by Texas A&M Health Science Center.

“The bottom line is we’re in this together,” said The Honorable Nils Daulaire, M.D., M.P.H., former U.S. assistant secretary of health for global affairs and now senior visiting scholar on global health security at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, regarding international efforts to enhance readiness, including providing resources and technical expertise to assist less developed countries. “This pays enormous dividends not only in public health but also in international relations.”

Session moderator Andrew Natsios, Texas A&M University director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs and executive professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, said, “We have learned from Ebola that the emergency response system is not designed for massive pandemics. The question is how we deal with a fast onset pandemic that occurs outside our borders.”

How capable is the international community, he asked panel members, to respond to a pandemic such as the 1918 influenza outbreak, in which 3 percent to 5 percent of the world’s population died in 12 months?

Vice Minister Liu Qian of the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China responded, “One important lesson we have learned is that advances in technology are vital for rapid diagnosis. We also learned an isolation mechanism must be put in place in a very timely manner.”

“In terms of response it’s clear we don’t know where, what or when the next outbreak will occur,” Daulaire said. “When you don’t know you have to do things with an all-hazards approach. You have to be prepared to identify and quickly respond.”

Peter Hotez, head of the section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, spoke to the burden of disease on the world’s poor, who suffer disproportionately.

“Ebola virus infection is not new; it represents one of 20 diseases under the moniker of neglected tropical diseases,” he said. “The point is we want to be ahead of the curve and not reacting such as with the Ebola virus.”

Vaccine development is the piece that’s missing, Hotez said. “Private industry and the public sector need to find ways to cooperate,” Daulaire concurred.

They agreed that the three national Centers for Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing (CIADM) are a step in the right direction. Founded on an initial $285.6 million public-private investment from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including $176.6 million from the U.S. government and the remainder cost-shared by commercial and academic partners as well as the State of Texas, Texas A&M CIADM is one such center – and the only one housed within an academic institution. Designed to develop vaccines, biologics and therapeutics more rapidly, efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before, the center leverages the expertise of a renowned research university and health science center, innovation of emerging biotechnology firms, and the development and manufacturing capabilities of global pharmaceutical companies.

Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, cited the impact of continuing discussions between China and the U.S. on complex issues.

“We believe these efforts on infectious disease show a real potential for working together,” he said. “We approach things very differently, but it’s important we find ways to come together and collaborate. This will affect not just the U.S. and China relationship but the international community. The impact will be felt globally.”

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Debbie Field <![CDATA[Another view: Pivotal Step to #EndPandemics]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23417 2015-05-14T01:37:44Z 2015-05-13T16:21:23Z The social media hashtag #EndPandemics tied to this week’s 6th George H.W. Bush China-U.S. Relations Conference in Houston is more than a memorable phrase. It is indeed a specific objective — one that could be accomplished within the next decade, if there is bold and focused American leadership accompanied by strong international cooperation and transparent sharing of data]]>

By Brett Giroir, M.D.

The social media hashtag #EndPandemics tied to this week’s 6th George H.W. Bush China-U.S. Relations Conference in Houston is more than a memorable phrase. It is indeed a specific objective — one that could be accomplished within the next decade, if there is bold and focused American leadership accompanied by strong international cooperation and transparent sharing of data.

The conference, focusing specifically on China and U.S. leadership in global public health, is a major step. Rather than a “science meeting,” this unique assembly of 400 senior government officials, international business moguls, public health leaders and renowned scientists and engineers was designed to develop and implement holistic approaches across disciplines, professions and cultural barriers. This approach will provide humanity our best hope for avoiding the decimation of national populations, economies and even entire cultures that could result from the next pandemic or bioterrorist attack. Holistic approaches include early warning and prediction, smart device-based technologies for diagnosis and tracking, disease protection from whole foods, new broad-based vaccines like a one-time universal flu shot and even corporate social responsibility programs and well-equipped disease detective “swat teams” that deploy and diffuse outbreaks at their source.

Last year in Texas, it became clear that Ebola was not simply an African problem; it is a world problem that came frightfully close to a widespread outbreak in north Texas. In 2009, H1N1 influenza infected 25 percent of the world’s population; but fortunately, and not because of any human intervention, the world was “lucky” to only experience 284,000 deaths, and not 100 million as in 1918.

What will be the next challenge? Will it be a known disease like Ebola or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or perhaps one that is now only carried in a bat and waiting to escape into its mammalian human relatives? Will it be a genetically altered airborne microbe weapon concocted by terrorists or an enemy nation?

Texas — and greater Houston in particular — is the ideal location to host this unprecedented global health conference, as Houston is home to the largest medical center in the world that serves as the epicenter for public-private partnership solutions, and boasts the National School of Tropical Medicine.

A prime example of Texas leadership is the new national Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Facility in Bryan-College Station, which is the cornerstone for the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing. When fully operational in just a few years, the program will be responsible for delivering the first 50 million doses of vaccine — in just four months — to protect the nation against pandemic flu. This collaboration of academic, commercial and government stakeholders is serving as the model for how to #EndPandemics.

Complementing the public health preparedness and response infrastructure within the Lone Star State, many Texas experts served in 2014 on the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, which I was privileged to lead. Assembled during the Texas Ebola outbreak, the group provided leadership and long-term recommendations to strengthen our readiness for future public health threats. Currently, a Texas Senate bill under consideration by the Legislature aims to continue this task force and its important work of state preparedness.

In a similar vein, the U.S.-China collaboration will also yield tangible steps for developing innovative and effective worldwide protocols for identifying, tracking, preventing, treating and containing infectious disease outbreaks. In today’s globally connected society, an epidemic anywhere will soon become a threat everywhere. Infectious diseases respect no national boundaries, political parties or ethnic origins. To #EndPandemics requires novel approaches and partnerships that began this week in Houston.

 

Giroir is a physician scientist and chief executive officer of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and former director of the Defense Sciences Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

This op-ed originally appeared in Houston Chronicle.

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Carolyn Cox <![CDATA[Tuberculosis: Collaborating to fight a global problem]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23373 2015-05-21T02:03:33Z 2015-05-13T15:30:56Z A critical challenge in the TB fight is the reality that the disease hits citizens hardest in areas with the least resources to fight it. Participants at the George H.W. Bush Sixth China-U.S. Relations Conference in Houston are intent on solving this global challenge with advancements in diagnosis and treatment that can potentially benefit all the world’s citizens]]>
Dr. Jeffrey Cirillo poses with a sample tray in front of a laptop and, at the edge of the photograph, a prototype of the new testing device that could revolutionize TB testing.

Cirillo and his TAMHSC team along with the spinoff company GBDbio Corp. have created a portable, low-cost diagnostic device known as TB REaD, currently undergoing clinical trials.

No location on the planet escapes the devastating toll of tuberculosis (TB), the second deadliest infectious disease worldwide.

A critical challenge in the TB fight is the reality that the disease hits citizens hardest in areas with the least resources to fight it. Participants at the George H.W. Bush Sixth China-U.S. Relations Conference in Houston are intent on solving this global challenge with advancements in diagnosis and treatment that can potentially benefit all the world’s citizens.

For Texas A&M Health Science Center’s Dr. Jeffrey Cirillo and international allies who discussed the topic at the conference, the priority is frustratingly long range but clear: eradication.

Despite promising technological innovations, a cookie-cutter approach will not solve this global problem, both U.S. and China officials say. Differences in governmental regulations, health care delivery, diagnostic methods and treatment effectiveness require customized intervention by location. Adding urgency to the issue is China’s epidemic-level incidence, with nearly a million new TB cases diagnosed every year.

“In the past 10 years China has funneled a huge amount of money into TB epidemiology and diagnostic technologies, and it is intriguing to see what they’ve got and how they’re planning to apply it,” said Cirillo, director of the Center for Airborne Pathogen Research and Tuberculosis Imaging at TAMHSC, who is chairing the TB roundtable discussions at the conference. In recent years his lab has hosted several Chinese government employees for training in specific diagnostic procedures for implementation in their home country.

“A group met in Beijing in 2009 on a similar topic, but the focus this time is on technological advancements and how we can incorporate new TB detection methods,” said Cirillo, whose groundbreaking new rapid TB diagnostic device was among the strategies discussed during the Houston conference. Sessions featured detailed collaboration among representatives of higher education, government, industry and the public health sector.

“We often say we have a dream: It’s to have precision medicine for TB clinical care,” said Dr. Xiaoqing Liu, a physician in the infectious disease department at Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing. She described a network of 16 “cooperation centers” located at some of the 200 special hospitals designated to treat active pulmonary TB cases. The centers have been established to build a foundation for better Chinese TB clinical trials, and she suggested a use for them in studying Cirillo’s detection device. “Maybe we can collaborate,” she said.

Over the past 10 years, China has achieved a 26 percent reduction in new TB cases, according to World Health Organization data. However, TB prevalence globally is still staggering, particularly among many Asian and African countries.

Cirillo and his TAMHSC team along with the spinoff company GBDbio Corp. have created a portable, low-cost diagnostic device known as TB REaD, currently undergoing clinical trials in Thailand, Peru, South Africa and Vietnam through the World Health Organization, foundations, multiple other nonprofits and groups. Close to becoming available for use by providers worldwide, this device shortens diagnosis time from several days to 10 minutes.

“It will make a huge difference to be able to diagnose earlier,” Cirillo said, explaining that patients can transmit the disease by coughing or sneezing before it is even possible to confirm their own TB diagnosis through current testing methods. “Until now, we really haven’t had anything to diagnose TB rapidly, particularly in low resource settings, and particularly in pediatric cases.” In related efforts to rapidly diagnose the disease, his team is focused on advancing a test that can detect a nonpulmonary form of TB in children.

Drug-resistant TB, now present everywhere in the world, is hampering efforts to fight the disease. In 2013 an estimated 480,000 new cases of multidrug-resistant TB occurred worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Resistance to the drugs known to fight the TB bacterium makes these cases particularly deadly.

For this reason, Cirillo is pursuing an additional diagnostic approach known as drug susceptibility testing to detect antibiotic resistance. This molecular test measures the viability of the bacteria causing TB, offering secondary confirmation to the initial findings showing TB’s presence. Whereas this secondary test currently is done by culture and results take weeks to obtain, Cirillo and his team are aiming to offer results within two hours. This time saved is vital in implementing additional therapies, closely monitoring patient compliance and minimizing disease transfer.

A successful fight against TB should pair advanced diagnostic tools with cutting-edge therapies to treat the condition effectively. Ross Underwood of Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical research division described for session attendees the company’s newly developed antibiotic called bedaquiline, the first new such TB drug in 50 years. “This is largely a disease of the poor, and those who can’t help themselves,” Underwood said, explaining the treatment’s use for multidrug-resistant TB in adults. “We have a commitment to provide worldwide solutions and also not leave patients behind.”

“Working together with the Beijing CDC, the Henan CDC, GBDbio, Johnson and Johnson and investigators at Texas A&M, we hope to develop the necessary interactions to allow incorporation of emerging diagnostics and treatment strategies,” said Cirillo. “This will allow us to better combat tuberculosis in China and throughout the world.”

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Jennifer Fuentes <![CDATA[CDC head calls upon world leaders to form partnerships in the fight to #EndPandemics]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23412 2015-05-21T02:03:47Z 2015-05-13T14:30:02Z For decades, the U.S. and China have collaborated on international health issues, and the timing has never been more pivotal to take­­­­­­­­­­­­ that partnership to the next level, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., told an audience of the world’s most elite physicians, scientists, policymakers, government officials and business leaders during the China-U.S. Relations Conference keynote address on May ]]>
Dr. Tom Frieden

Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control

For decades, the U.S. and China have collaborated on international health issues, and the timing has never been more pivotal to take­­­­­­­­­­­­ that partnership to the next level, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., told an audience of the world’s most elite physicians, scientists, policymakers, government officials and business leaders during the China-U.S. Relations Conference keynote address on May 12.

“We have a choice before us. We can either invest in prevention and make a real difference in preventing illness, suffering and death, or we can pay a whole lot more later, whether it’s enduring outbreaks of Ebola or treating diseases that could have been prevented,” Frieden said.

In his speech chronicling the necessary international response to mitigate health threats, Frieden explained that collaboration has strengthened the U.S. and China’s abilities to address global public health concerns such as polio — currently active in Pakistan — tuberculosis, training of disease detectives and an effective response to H7N9, including development of a candidate vaccine. Connecting complementary programs has allowed the two countries to build upon their abilities to detect and respond to infectious and noncommunicable diseases alike, including the role of sodium in high blood pressure and heart disease, and use of folic acid to prevent birth defects.

“We have a global collaboration leading to a global benefit, and that is important as a theme for this conference and the work we do together,” Frieden said.

The work can’t stop there.

The importance of such transnational collaborations came to the fore with the recent Ebola outbreak, which has claimed more than 11,000 lives worldwide. Even as the U.S. worked stateside to contain four confirmed cases including one death, the two countries partnered together when the China CDC established a laboratory in Sierra Leone, completing more than 15,000 Ebola diagnostic tests.

He noted that while the World Health Organization declared an end to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia on May 9, the interconnectedness of our globe today means that a problem in one country, in one region, can become a problem in another.

“Ebola, influenza and other diseases are examples of why we need to make more progress on global health security,” Frieden said. “We really are all connected by the air we breathe, the food we eat and the planes we ride on.”

To minimize the chance that another outbreak of Ebola’s magnitude will occur again will take a concerted effort to strengthen every nation’s capacity to deal with such a public health crisis, Frieden said.

Through the U.S. and China’s partnerships with other countries, as well as non-governmental organizations, philanthropic entities and the private sector, more nations will be able to detect, prevent and respond to threats including infectious disease, bioterrorism and the rising number of drug-resistant bacteria. Initiatives like the five-year Global Health Security Agenda seeks to help countries that have at least 4 billion people to build sustainable health care delivery infrastructures. Already 40 countries including the U.S. and China have signed on to help in this effort, which expands into dozens of countries in need in 2015.

Established partnerships such as the China-U.S. Conference are yet another example of the countries’ shared history of collaboration, but it also offers the opportunity to help other nations develop their public frameworks for response, Frieden said.

“It would be wonderful if one of the collaborations between the U.S. and China would ask, ‘How can we help countries establish National Public Health Institutes?’

“There is a widespread understanding that infectious disease will continue to be with us, and that we need to have a partnership with other countries to address them,” Frieden said. “Only by working together will we be able to have the impact necessary.”

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Jennifer Fuentes <![CDATA[International collaboration and innovative partnerships with industry, government, speeding bench-to-bedside discoveries]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23366 2015-05-15T21:05:14Z 2015-05-13T14:00:38Z Whether it’s an inhaled therapeutic that stimulates innate immunity of the lungs to prevent the spread of bacterial and viral infections, or a novel tuberculosis test that allows doctors to diagnose the infectious disease within minutes, the partnerships between academic institutions, their spinoff companies, industry, and government are the driving force behind advancing these products to the market — and on faster timelines than ever before. ]]>

Researcher pippetingThe products that result from biotechnology commercialization can be as varied as the patients they ultimately benefit. Whether it’s an inhaled therapeutic that stimulates innate immunity of the lungs to prevent the spread of bacterial and viral infections, or a novel tuberculosis test that allows doctors to diagnose the infectious disease within minutes, the partnerships between academic institutions, their spinoff companies, industry, and government are the driving force behind advancing these products to the market — and on faster timelines than ever before. The above-mentioned technologies borne from Texas A&M Health Science Center discoveries are just a few examples of how new, more innovative approaches for the translation of biotechnologies are being adopted worldwide.

During the George H.W. Bush Sixth China-U.S. Relations Conference, global scientific and academic leaders from Texas A&M and Peking University Health Science Center shared how their institutions are approaching technology transfer and commercialization. As part of the international “think tank” sessions, participants discussed the challenges and opportunities that currently exist when translating new technologies from the laboratory into products for clinical use, and tangible solutions for overcoming barriers they face. The roundtable highlighted an overall effort at Texas A&M Health Science Center to accelerate biotechnology innovation and further explore opportunities for public-private and multinational partnerships – a measure that can not only help increase the number of technologies in development, but also decrease the time and cost associated with bringing them to market. In the case of a new drug or vaccine, which traditionally can take more than a decade and cost upwards of a billion dollars, such advances translates to hundreds of thousands of lives saved.

“We want to highlight the opportunities for building new partnerships that will streamline the commercialization process, and ultimately, accelerate the development of life-saving therapies to treat everything from cancer to emerging infectious diseases and other life-threatening conditions,” says LauraLee Hughes, director of the TAMHSC Office of Technology Translation, who chaired the roundtable discussion.

A crucial part of this dialogue includes assessing the current trends and models that are in place in countries around the world to facilitate technology translation, and then identifying how those can be impacted by factors such as the government, business climate, access to capital, and even ability to attract and maintain entrepreneurial talent.

In the U.S., biotechnology commercialization is increasingly characterized by multiple academic and medical institutions pooling their resources to collaborate with individual industry partners, and in China, government plays a strong role in providing funding to bring products to market, roundtable speakers said during a panel discussion.

This focus on public-private partnerships and multinational collaboration comes at a pivotal time, as university technology transfer offices are shifting their focus away from simply identifying discoveries, and toward protecting the intellectual property (IP) around those discoveries, before then licensing the IP to a third party for further development.

“We are seeing more and more academic institutions and technology transfer offices becoming involved in advanced development and translation, which often includes spinning out new companies to continue the development work that is required outside of an academic laboratory to bring new products to market,” Hughes says. “Often, they are also working with industry partners who are sponsoring development of a specific technology. In addition, many government agencies now offer specific incentives and programs that are focused on commercialization and provide funding to bring new technologies through intermediate and advanced phases of development on the path to the commercial market,” says Hughes.

New models are being pursued with the primary focus on improving public health, whether the technology in development is a preventive measure for chronic disease or a vaccine that the federal government keeps on hand for mass emergencies.

“Patients ultimately stand to benefit from these efforts that will impact how innovative research is brought to the clinic, and ideally will enable that to be done in a more cost-effective and timely manner,” says Hughes. “Achieving this goal requires a collective effort among universities, industry, government and other partners from across the world to ensure the most promising therapies reach the market and are able to have a positive impact on global public health.”

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