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TMFHelical (98.70)

April 2011

Recs

3

Is Social Media a Healthcare Gamechanger?

April 28, 2011 – Comments (1)

I think it will be for some.  Certainly those who are active with social media and concerned for their health are empowered by solcial media and information on the web.  As for providers of healthcare, their role as a 'source of truth' (to quote Toffler) will be diminished, and they won't like that.  But here too, informed conversations can only lead to a better healthcare service.  [more]

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4

Activism at CVS

April 12, 2011 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: CVS

It was just the end of January that I let CVS go from my Helical port in favor of Medco Health.  I like CVS, but it wasn't performing and Medco was a purer play into pharmacy benefits management.  I like PBM both for its business and its important position in the movement for integrated health IT.  The brick and mortar CVS is nice too, and I like the use of minute clinics within them to drive traffic and revenues, but clinics are showing up in Wal-marts and Targets as well.  [Wish some of these clinics would IPO].  [more]

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8

Why cancer diagnostics aren't simple.

April 05, 2011 – Comments (2) | RELATED TICKERS: GHDX , ILMN , PACB

Alright, I didn't know exactly how to title this post, which is going to be linked to a few different boards.  There is a study out in Nature (Nature and Science are the big two for scientific publishing) that looks at whole genome sequencing in the context of breast cancer.  Actually, a subset of breast cancer, 'oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers'.  The subset was used presumably because these are harder to treat and may have a similar underlying identifiable cause that could help identify them early.

What they did was sequence 50 tumors (with 30X coverage) and of course also healthy tissue from the same 50 subjects (always have to do this control to see changes).  To cut to the chase, here is the title from Nature News.

Decoding of ten trillion bases yields no simple patterns or silver bullets.

Such a study, done in the context 'two clinical trials of oestrogen-lowering drugs known as aromatase inhibitors', showed 'of the 1,700 gene mutations they found in total, most were unique to individual patients' tumours, and only three occurred in 10% or more.'

So much for establishing an simple diagnostic, or predictive marker. Or for the use of sequencing as the diagnostic tool, which too often yields an 'isn't that interesting' result rather than a validated A or B choice.

Anyway, here is the news story:
http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110402/full/news.2011.203.html

Now I love that they did this.  Seeing more of this as sequencing gets cheaper is going to happen in my opinion, particularly in clinical settings.  It is good news for companies like Illumina, Life Technologies, and potentially Pacific Biosciences who are driving down the cost of whole genome sequencing.  Also Complete Genomics who is looking to offer this as a service.    [more]

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3

Helical Port - Q1 2011

April 04, 2011 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: CPHD , ATHN , JNJ

So the first quarter of Helical Port is behind it.  It was a far more active one than I had planned.   When I first introduced the port at the start of the year it had $50,173.96.  The port is now worth $53874.32 for a year to date gain of 7.09% (S&P up 6.7%).  That is certainly better than I expected for the start of 2011, and I'm very torn in a macro sense on how the full year is going to play out.  Arguments for continued running balance expected problems.  I'm surprised by the events the market has shrugged off so far this year.  [more]

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