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More on this story Sniffing out cancer with electronic noses 9 March 2014 Why is no one talking about bladder cancer? The Egyptian military releases images of life vests and other items found during the search for missing EgyptAir flight MS804. For 85% of kids with a terrible cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chemotherapy is a cure–but not for Emily Whitehead.
Nothing except a crazy experimental treatment never before given to a child: Blood was taken out of 6-year-old Emily’s body, passed through a machine to remove her white cells and put back in. She still is, two years later–taking piano lessons, wrestling with her dog and loving school, which she couldn’t attend while sick. A successful trial would prove a milestone in the fight against the demon that has plagued living things since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. But the developments at Penn point, tantalizingly, to something more, something that would rank among the great milestones in the history of mankind: a true cure.
It’s a stunning breakthrough,” says Sally Church, of drug development advisor Icarus Consultants. There are still huge hurdles ahead: Novartis has to run clinical trials in both kids and adults at hospitals around the world, ready a manufacturing plant to create individualized treatments for patients and figure out how to limit the side effects that nearly killed Emily. Progress like this explains why Jimenez is focusing his pharmaceutical giant on a simple mission: cure cancer. Jimenez has competition, including one of the best-funded startups ever: Seattle-based Juno Therapeutics, which counts Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos among its backers. On paper Jimenez seems an unlikely backer for one of the most revolutionary medical breakthroughs any company has ever tried to develop. Jimenez’s predecessor, Daniel Vasella, saw in him someone who could pilot Novartis through what was going to be a tough time. What the marketers thought was a $400 million drug, Jimenez notes, is now a $4.6 billion one, and Novartis’ top seller to boot. Gleevec literally changed the very architecture of the company’s Basel headquarters, on the banks of the Rhine where Switzerland abuts France and Germany. Everything changed for Novartis with a patient named Douglas Olson, then 64, who had been diagnosed 14 years before with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Olson’s result was published, without his name, in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2011. All three companies–two still unnamed because of confidentiality agreements–offered the same cookie-cutter financial terms: $20 million up front, with a royalty on sales and milestone payments paid to Penn. But commercializing June’s cancer-killing cells would be like no drug development program ever. Downsides: “So far, it’s only blood cancer, it’s high technology, it’s customized therapy, it’s going to require major investment,” warns Clifford Hudis, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, who is nonetheless excited about the cells. First comes the challenge of figuring out how to deliver a personalized therapy to patients with ALL, the disease Emily had. Juno was the brainchild of Larry Corey, the director at “the Hutch”–the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, perhaps the center of research into how the immune system normally keeps cancer in check. In February cofounder Michel Sadelain of Memorial Sloan Kettering published data in acute leukemia that rivals that of Novartis: His CARTs induced a complete remission in 18 of 21 adults.
A next-generation CART method being developed at the Hutch by Juno seems to cause less severe fevers.
Cancer drugs have helped Novartis, Roche, and Bristol-Myers Squibb outperform a drug industry index. Other competitors include an unpartnered CART program at MD Anderson Cancer Center and another from Kite Pharma, which has paired with NCI immunology pioneer Steven Rosenberg, and a third from biotech giant Celgene CELG +1.77%, which is working with tiny Bluebird Bio. Despite the historic promise presented by the treatment, Jimenez says, the biggest hurdle facing efforts to develop new cancer cures might be economics, not science.
This is actually what’s driving his strategy of bulking up his cancer division–so it can compete–and at the same time betting on the wildest technology.
When researchers talk about CARTs they often reference the cost of a bone marrow transplant–$350,000 for a single course of treatment. Earlier this year Novartis bought its way into the field of immune-stimulating cancer drugs by purchasing CoStim for an undisclosed price, figuring it needed to combine them with its targeted pills and CARTs. May 4, 2015 by NurseCore One of the best parts of working in medicine is having a front row seat to advances that will change the world. This inventive new implant seeks to replace reading glasses for those with presbyopia, the blurred vision many people over 40 years of age experience when reading.
The KARMA Inlay is a circular, opaque device, which is surgically implanted in the patient’s non-dominant eye.
The FDA says that this implant marks the first major advancement in presbyopia surgery in over a decade. Most healthcare professionals have had a few patients that are terrified of having their blood taken. Without any pain, patients will be able to take blood from themselves in about two minutes. This treatment could prove revolutionary for obesity and help millions of patients reach their health goals. The sweetest entry on this list has to be Huggable, an interactive teddy bear developed by the MIT Media Lab.
Researchers at MIT have developed and tested a tiny, implantable device that could accurately predict which drugs would work on a specific tumor.
NurseCore provides staffing services all across the country with 25 offices located in 8 states. Intrathecal chemotherapy: Treatment with drugs that are injected into the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid).
Diagnosed at 5, she suffered an infection from her first round of chemo and nearly lost her legs.

Then scientists at the University of Pennsylvania used a modified HIV virus to genetically reprogram those white cells so that they would attack her cancer, and reinjected them. Coupled with the exploding capabilities of DNA-sequencing machines that can unlock the genetic code, recent drugs have delivered stunning results in lung cancer, melanoma and other deadly tumors, sometimes making them disappear entirely–albeit temporarily. Of 25 children and 5 adults with Emily’s disease, ALL, 27 had a complete remission, in which cancer becomes undetectable.
Says Crystal Mackall, who is developing similar treatments at the National Cancer Institute: “It really is a revolution. Already cancer drugs represent $11.2 billion of Novartis’ $58 billion in annual sales, but he says he’s “doubling down” on the cancer business. He’s a marketer by trade who, until he came to Novartis in 2007, managed brands like Clorox CLX +0.57% and Peter Pan Peanut Butter before running the North America business for Heinz, the ketchupmaker.
On Jimenez’s watch, manufacturing problems temporarily shut down plants in consumer and animal health. Vasella’s proudest moment was the decision to ignore his own marketing people and instead listen to an Oregon oncologist named Brian Druker, who was begging him to develop a cancer drug called Gleevec–Vasella even wrote a book about it. A drab manufacturing campus was reimagined like a college, with sidewalk cafes, benches to facilitate conversations and a glass building designed by Frank Gehry.
His disease no longer responded to chemo, and he had two years to live without a risky bone marrow transplant. Data from two other patients were published at the same time in Science Translational Medicine. “The phone started ringing off the hook with people wanting to start companies  and all sorts of venture capitalists and all that,” says Carl June, the Penn researcher whose team developed the therapy and who three years before couldn’t raise money around it. June gets only a pittance compared to what he would get if he’d started a biotech, but he says he doesn’t care.
The current CARTs kill not just cancer cells but any B-cell, the type of white blood cell that goes wrong in leukemia.
June, Novartis’ partner, wasn’t the only one to think of using CARTs to attack cancer, just the first to publish evidence that it could work. Richard Klausner, the former head of the NCI, helped find backers: ARCH Venture Partners and the Alaska Permanent Fund, and then others, including Bezos, who have together put in $175 million, perhaps the largest Series A round ever in biotech. While Novartis bought one of Dendreon’s plants, Juno hired the man who built them: former Dendreon chief operating officer Hans Bishop, 50. And then there are other Juno CARTs created in Seattle, with miracle stories like that of Milton Wright III, 20.
Juno and other CART researchers say they are ethically bound to offer patients bone marrow transplants, which, though often fatal, are proven cures; so far, many of the patients from Novartis and June’s studies are not doing this. Paradoxically, the rapid increase in costs will lead governments to try to cut costs, making competition between hospitals, doctors and drug companies tougher. He has a team actively exploring new ways of pricing cancer drugs, in which several medicines are sold for the price of one, or health systems or insurers pay based on how many patients are cured.
It’s also the force behind his Glaxo deal, getting rid of unprofitable divisions and giving him volume to negotiate with the drug buyers of the future: governments and insurance companies.
They started talking about vaccines and quickly realized that each had businesses the other wanted. Imagine working in healthcare when germ theory was first discovered or when vaccines were first implemented. After conducting a 5-year clinical study of 508 patients, AcuFocus received approval from the FDA in April 2015. In patients who have not had cataract surgery, the device extends the depth-of-focus and allows the patient to easily read or work on a computer without glasses. The implant is now available in over 50 countries and will help many patients see more clearly.
Sometimes, the process is more painful for the person trying to take the blood than it is for the patient. After collecting the sample, patients can simply take it to the clinical lab to have their tests done. When commanded, it electronically stimulates the stomach, which then tells the brain that enough food has been consumed. It helps ease children’s anxiety in the hospital by asking the children questions, joking with them, and playing games. Once the device is implanted into a tumor, it releases minute amounts of different cancer medications. This breakthrough could mean spending less time with the wrong treatments and giving the patient more time with the best treatment possible. ARP inhibitor could be effective in other cancers that have faults in their DNA repair mechanisms. Then the cancer came back; she was put into remission once more and scheduled for a bone marrow transplant. Hallucinating, she asked her father, “Why is there a pond in my room?” She was sent to the intensive care unit and put on a ventilator. But a seat on the board of AstraZeneca got him interested in selling products that saved people’s lives. By leaning on Novartis’ generic-drug business, the world’s second largest, and its eye care division, Alcon, Jimenez kept sales and earnings stable, at around $58 billion and $9 billion. Gleevec became a breakthrough, helping almost every patient with a particular rare blood cancer, chronic myelogenous leukemia. Vasella moved its research headquarters to Cambridge, Mass., a block from MIT, in a converted candy factory with a stunning skylight and six-story atrium. Worse, it seemed to Jimenez that Novartis was missing out on a new vanguard of drugs Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY +0.87% was pioneering that used the immune system as a weapon against tumors.
The biotech route would be too slow; he had more patients begging to try his therapy than he could treat. Patients are likely to get injections of a protein that B-cells make, called gamma globulin, for the rest of their lives; if the treatment becomes popular there may not be enough gamma globulin to go around.

Targeted drugs like Gleevec are more effective against blood cancers than solid tumors like lung or breast cancer (which literally build walls of tissue to protect themselves); the same thing may be true with CARTs. Though the cells are “amazing,” says Charles Sawyers, the past president of the American Association for Cancer Research and a Novartis board member, “what we don’t know is how broadly does this scale?” Penn and Novartis will soon begin studies in mesothelioma, a lung cancer, to start answering that question. But others were on the same trail, and most of them pooled their efforts into a biotech: Seattle’s Juno Therapeutics. Juno even has another option: a T-cell that uses natural, not man-made, receptors to detect cancer. Researchers at Penn say many of their patients are not eligible for transplant and that, in some, their CARTs seem to keep working for years.
They had to push the complicated deal through their companies, talking several times a week, including on Easter Sunday, to get it closed. But things are turning, with not only the cancer drug but a pair of heart medicines that may become blockbusters. The way we care for patients is changing all the time, so it is vital that healthcare workers stay caught up on the latest advancements in medical technology. Soon, you might be able to say goodbye to all of that, thanks to a new device from Tasso, Inc.
The bear’s name is Huggable, and it will also be equipped with sensors that can tell how hard it’s being squeezed, which could be an effective way to measure a child’s pain. A doctor told her family that there was only a one-in-1,000 chance she would survive the night. He was brought in to run Novartis’ $4 billion consumer products division, home to Triaminic and Theraflu, but was rapidly promoted to run drug marketing and then, in a surprise to everyone, made the chief executive. Novartis also benefited from a 33% stake in Roche, its rival, with $31 billion in oncology sales. Patients stay on it for years, and it is so valuable that Novartis has quadrupled its annual price from $24,000 per year in 2001 to more than $90,000 today. They use their receptors to feel around in the body for cells with particular proteins on their surface and destroy them, targeting infected cells and cancer. Luckily, one biotech, Dendreon, solved this problem with its prostate cancer treatment, Provenge.
Even going from Emily’s disease, acute leukemia, to the chronic leukemia Doug Olson had, the rate of complete remission drops from 90% to 50%. He’s handsome and fit but with heart problems from chemotherapy that took away the football scholarship he had at a community college.
But Jimenez says that would be too much–that even for a breakthrough the cost needs to be lower. Among the toughest points was making sure Novartis will have opt-out rights for the consumer health joint venture they created, which Glaxo will control, if things go sour.
However, predicting which drugs will work on a patient has always been little more than educated guessing.
Then, doctors can see which parts of the tumor reacted best and determine a course of action. You can follow NurseCore on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more medical news, tips, and inspiration. Then the miracle breakthrough: Doctors gave Emily a rheumatoid arthritis drug that stopped the immune system storm–without protecting the cancer. According to data provider IMS Health, spending on oncology drugs was $91 billion last year, triple what it was in 2003. He fixed the plants, and Novartis’ stock has significantly outperformed the S&P 500 over five years–a total return of 176% versus 139%–and ?outpaced the American Stock Exchange’s pharmaceutical index to boot.
He worries that his scientists have taken too much to heart another lesson from Gleevec, that understanding the biochemical mechanisms behind a drug is essential. June also knew Barbara Weber, Novartis’ head of translational medicine, and Novartis scientist Seth Ettenberg had trained with June and shared his sense of mission–Ettenberg went into cancer research because his brother had died of leukemia. With CARTs scientists add a man-made receptor–the chimeric antigen receptor–assembled from mouse antibodies and receptor fragments.
Even luckier for Novartis, Provenge was not that effective and flopped, and Dendreon was looking to offload a manufacturing plant. The third time, he was offered CART therapy, which was followed by high fevers, low blood pressure, a disappearance of cancer and a bone marrow transplant.
Jimenez’s move, which he terms “the antithesis of megamergers,” will drop Novartis’ 2016 sales 5% but boost earnings per share (before extraordinary items) by 10%, according to investment bank Jefferies. A gene code for the man-made receptor is inserted into the T-cell’s DNA with a virus, usually a modified HIV.
If the receptor sees cancer, not only does it kill it, it starts dividing, creating a cancer-killing army inside the body.
Emily’s father, an electrical lineman named Tom Whitehead, remembers getting the call from her doctor, Stephan Grupp: “It worked.
All of a sudden you don’t have this thing sitting there waiting to kill you.” He bought a boat and, four years later, still cancer free, scheduled an interview with FORBES around chainsawing trees on his Pennsylvania property. Novartis already knew blood cancers, and it knew breakthroughs, and that was good enough for him. Bruce Levine, the researcher tasked with growing cells at Penn, says the facility is a dream come true.

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