The Handoff: Your Week in Neurology News – 5/18/17

The Handoff is a weekly roundup of neurology news covering various developments in subspecialties, the pharmaceutical industry, and the overall state of health care as it affects neurologists.

— Following a ransomware attack on the UK health care system, here are 5 takeaways for US hospitals from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center chief information officer Dr John Halamka. 

— Is Amazon preparing to enter the pharmaceutical industry? An insider suggests that top executives are mulling over the decision. 

— An analysis suggests that the FDA’s cautious approach to Lilly’s solanezumab may have saved the US health care system from spending billions of dollars on an ineffective drug. 

— The FDA has officially appointed Scott Gottlieb, MD as commissioner, and here are some of the goals he plans to pursue over his tenure. 

— President Trump has named several new members to the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, including former Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy, who has personally struggled with addiction. 

— French regulators have ordered AB Science to halt its research on its ALS drug masitinib due to trial compliance issues — issue that AB says stem from a troubled trial dating back to 2009-2015 that has since been resolved. 

— A pre-clinical study funded by the NIH found that gut bacteria may influence the structure of cerebral blood vessels, contributing to cerebral cavernous malformations. 

— The US Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with Cohen Veterans Bioscience in a public-private alliance to create the Research Alliance for PTSD/TBI Innovation and Discovery Diagnostics (RAPID-Dx), which will focus on TBI and PTSD. The partnership plans to utilize big data to uncover biomarkers and diagnostics. 

— Members of the FDA’s Pediatric Advisory Committee and Pediatric Ethics Subcommittee are meeting today with representatives from Sarepta to discuss the ethics behind the placement of a central venous port in patients enrolled in ongoing clinical trials for Duchenne muscular dystrophy drugs SRP-4045 and SRP-4053. Current protocol requires intravenous infusion; however investigators from the UCLA site have cited several instances of distress and discomfort exhibited by patients, many of whom are autistic, due to multiple attempts to place an IV. 

— Watch the video below to learn about an innovative program out of NYU Langone that is bringing comprehensive, interdisciplinary care to the homes of patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease.