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Morning Read: Small cancer study reveals need for better communication for terminally ill patients

Also, Samsung tees up its first biosimilar drug for FDA approval and Moleculin Biotech files for an IPO.


It’s a conversation no doctor wants to have with their patients, and no patient would want to hear, but a new study of 178 cancer patients revealed that just 5 percent of terminally ill cancer patients understood their prognosis, according to the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Patients were asked what stage cancer they had, their current health status, how long they expected to live and if they had recently had a life-expectancy discussion with their doctor. The study concluded that an end-of-life conversation between patients and the oncologist led to a better understanding of their illness than those who did not. — ABC News, Journal of Clinical Oncology


Samsung’s biosimilar arm has submitted its first new drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for review — a biosimilar for arthritis drug Remicade — and the FDA accepted the application. So far the treatment has preliminary regulatory approval from the European Medicines Agency — The Wall Street Journal

Arbor Pharma has agreed to acquire XenoPort, a company famous for its restless leg syndrome drug, in a $467 million deal. — Xconomy

Moleculin Biotech Inc. has filed for an initial public offering with a goal of raising $12 million, according to an S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The IPO will support the development of its Phase 2 cancer drug. — Houston Business Journal


A group of research scientists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., is testing an experimental drug, Debio 1452, to combat the  bacteria that cause staph infections and produce strains that can cause MRSA, a superbug and the kind of hospital acquired infections that’s the bane of healthcare facilities. The goal is an antibiotic that targets that harmful bacteria and avoid harming the microbiome. — NPR

Massachusetts General Hospital wants to bring remote monitoring to people with Downs Syndrome in the form of a virtual clinic under development starting this July. A $2.1 million grant will support the patient portal seeking to address the shortage of Down syndrome clinics nationwide. — Boston Herald


A multi-pronged patient engagement company Envera Health has raised $14 million and acquired two companies —  population health business InHealth and web-based clinician portal MedVirginia, from Central Virginia Health Network. — MobiHealthNews

REACH Health, the telemedicine software company, today announced that Gary Christian has joined the senior executive team as chief operating officer, responsible for operations and finance. — BusinessWire

A group of researchers from Canada and France are exploring how monitoring publicly available messages from social media networks such as Facebook for signs of mental illness. The team will focus on finding words that are connected to negative emotions, and monitoring the user’s time spent on social media to see if there’s any variation in their usage. — Discover Magazine


A Rutgers University Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Ronke Olabisi sees the potential for using seashells, among other things, to regrow bone, skin and retinal tissue through proteins from them. — Business Insider

Photo: Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives