Is healthcare prepared for the surging 90-plus population? (Morning Read)

Current medical news from today, including healthcare concerns for the booming elderly population over 90, Eli Lilly invests more in tuberculosis research, and startup Agios takes on cancer and rare disease markets.

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone who cares about healthcare.

Alzheimer’s, disabilities are healchare priorities for growing elderly population. New Census data reveals that nearly 2 million Americans are at least 90 years old. That’s three times the number from just 30 years ago, and that number is expected to reach 8.7 million by mid-century. Controlling disability rates and finding new ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s will  be key priorities for the health of this age group. But the other concern is whether seniors will even be able to afford their healthcare, as the deficit-reduction committee weighs cuts to Social Security and Medicare spending.

Lilly invests in TB research. In its latest move to support tuberculosis research, Eli Lilly has committed $4.2 million over the next four and a half years to the Infectious Disease Research Institute. Currently used TB drugs were developed more than 40 years ago, the company says, and although the disease has been eradicated from wealthy countries decades ago, half a million people develop drug-resistant cases each year.

A small company making big moves. Massachusetts startup company Agios has raised $261 million before its experimental cancer drug that attacks cell metabolism has even been tried in a human. Now it’s making another big move, expanding its scope to tackle rare diseases, a supposed $1 trillion market.

YouTube for drug promotion. Last year, a randomized study found that the drug tranexamic acid reduced death in trauma victims by 15 percent, yet the researchers who conducted the study say the drug has been highly under utilized. So, in true 2011 fashion, the researchers developed at 40-second stop-motion claymation video they hope will go viral and encourage more ERs to adopt the drug. Watch it here.

Another FDA roadblock for Takeda. The FDA has delayed review of Takeda Pharmaceutical’s diabetes drug alogliptin, intended to be taken with blockbuster drug Actos, until April. Alogliptin was denied approval in 2009, with the FDA demanding more information on cardiovascular risk to patients.