What We're Reading: Antibiotic of Last Resort; Soon-Shiong's Appointment; Stem Therapies in Texas


Antibiotic of Last Resort Gets Modified

Vancomycin, the antibiotic of last resort, is getting modified to be more effective at fighting a dangerous hospital infection. CNN reported that some infections have become resistant even to vancomycin, so researchers modified the drug to work on bacteria in 3 ways, making it harder for bacteria to develop resistance. The modified drug still has to complete clinical trials before it can be mass produced, so it likely won’t be available for years.

Patrick Soon-Shiong Named to HHS Committee

Patrick Soon-Shiong will advise the Trump administration on health information technology (IT) as a new member of an HHS committee. House Speaker Paul Ryan named Soon-Shiong, a billionaire scientist, to the 25-member Health IT Advisory Committee that was authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act. According to Politico, there are questions about his conflicts of interest and how the expenditures of his nonprofit research organization have been spent.

Stem Cell Therapies in Texas

Texas could become the first state to recognize stem cell therapies, an experimental treatment for patients with chronic conditions or terminal illnesses. While clinics across the country have been offering the treatments for years, no state has legally validated them, according to STAT. The Texas measure would require the stem cell therapies be administered by a doctor at a hospital or ambulatory medical center. In addition, the treatment would have to be approved by an institutional review board and patients could sue if the treatment goes awry.

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