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In the News

Good News for Young Patients with a Leukemia Subtype Associated with a Poor Prognosis

Cleveland Clinic Opens Center for Functional Medicine

Kaiser Permanente Awards $2.55 Million Grant to American Heart Association Initiative

“You Are as Old as Your Arteries” Adage Still Holds True

New International Survey Finds MS Patients and Neurologists View Communication Positively, Yet Struggle to Discuss Key MS Symptoms

International Dietary Supplement Trade Alliance Endorses Botanical Adulterants Educational Program

JournalGuide Introduces New Verified Status To Help Researchers Identify Trusted Journals

Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center Recognized for Providing Exceptional Quality Care by American Society of Clinical Oncology

XYMOGEN Ranked Among The Nation's Fastest Growing Private Companies For A Seventh Time




Released: 09/25/14


Good News for Young Patients with a Leukemia Subtype Associated with a Poor Prognosis

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators found that adjusting treatment based on early response to chemotherapy made a life-saving difference to young patients with an acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) subtype associated with a poor outcome. The study appeared in the September 20 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The results are good news for children and adolescents with Philadelphia chromosome-like ALL (Ph-like ALL), a subtype that until now was associated with a poor prognosis. Ph-like ALL accounts for as much as 15 percent of the most common pediatric cancer. That cancer is called B-ALL because it affects white blood cells called B lymphocytes.

The study involved 344 children and adolescents with B-ALL, including 40 with the Ph-like ALL subtype. All were enrolled in a St. Jude clinical trial that used risk-directed chemotherapy. The approach relied on a method pioneered at St. Jude to monitor and adjust treatment intensity based on the percentage of leukemic cells—or minimal residual disease (MRD)—in patient bone marrow at days 19 and 42 of chemotherapy.

Using MRD-based, risk-directed chemotherapy, patients in this study had high rates of long-term and cancer-free survival regardless of their leukemia subtype. Overall, 92.5 percent of patients with Ph-like ALL in this study were alive five years after their cancer was discovered compared with 95.1 percent of other B-ALL patients.

"This study shows that by measuring minimal residual disease and using the results to guide treatment intensity, patients with Ph-like ALL can enjoy the same high rates of survival as other patients," said the study's corresponding author Ching Hon-Pui, MD, chair of the St. Jude Department of Oncology.

When available, more sophisticated genetic testing should be used to identify which of the B-ALL patients with high levels of MRD have the Ph-like ALL subtype, Dr. Pui said. That is because many Ph-like ALL patients have genetic alterations that leave cancer cells vulnerable to available cancer drugs called ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and possibly other targeted therapies that are still experimental. Unlike conventional chemotherapy, TKIs kill more selectively and are less likely to damage healthy cells. Dr. Pui estimated that 20 percent of pediatric Ph-like ALL patients might be candidates for TKIs. "In the future, genetic testing will likely be used at diagnosis to identify Ph-like ALL and direct patients to the best targeted therapy, possibly including some drugs that are currently experimental," he said.

Ph-like ALL was first described in 2009 by two research groups, including investigators from St. Jude. The subtype is named for a chromosomal rearrangement known as the Philadelphia chromosome that is associated with a different ALL subtype. The Ph-positive and Ph-like ALL subtypes share similar patterns of gene expression. Patients with Ph-like ALL lack the fusion of the BCR and ABL1 genes that is a hallmark of Ph-positive ALL.

Previous studies of Ph-like ALL focused on high-risk patients whose treatment did not include risk-directed therapy based on MRD levels. This study included all eligible patients newly diagnosed with B-ALL who enrolled in the St Jude Total Therapy XV study between June 2000 and October 2007. Genomic testing was used to retrospectively diagnose Ph-like ALL.

MRD monitoring combined with conventional risk factors such as patient age and white blood count at diagnosis demonstrated that Ph-like ALL is not a uniformly high-risk disease. MRD also proved essential for identifying Ph-like ALL patients who can be cured with less-intensive chemotherapy. In this study, 40 percent of Ph-like ALL patients were classified with low-risk disease because they had other favorable clinical or biological features and no MRD at the end of remission induction, and received less-intensive treatment. Sixty percent of the 40 Ph-like ALL patients in this study were classified as having standard-risk or high-risk disease. The group included six patients who underwent bone marrow transplantation.

The study's first author is Kathryn Roberts, PhD, a St. Jude postdoctoral fellow. The other authors are Deqing Pei, Debbie Payne-Turner, Yongjin Li, Cheng Cheng, John Sandlund, Sima Jeha, John Easton, Jared Becksfort, Jinghui Zhang, Susana Raimondi, Wing Leung, Mary Relling, William Evans, James Downing, and Charles Mullighan, all of St. Jude; and Dario Campana and Elaine Coustan-Smith, both formerly of St. Jude.

The study was funded in part by grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); a grant from the NIH; the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia; The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation; Stand Up to Cancer, and ALSAC.

 

Source: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, stjude.org

 

Released: 09/24/14


Cleveland Clinic Opens Center for Functional Medicine

In keeping with its focus on wellness, disease prevention, patient-centered care, and personalized healthcare, Cleveland Clinic opened a new Center for Functional Medicine yesterday, September 23. Mark Hyman, MD—founder of The UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, chairman of The Institute for Functional Medicine, and best-selling author—will join Cleveland Clinic as the center’s director. Functional Medicine is based on the evidence that lifestyle factors—such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress levels, relationships, and genetics—are major contributors to disease. Staff at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine will work together with Cleveland Clinic specialists to study the impact Functional Medicine has on certain chronic diseases, beginning with four clinical trials in the treatment of asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes, and migraines.

“As the incidence of chronic disease continues to mount, we must consider new approaches to understanding and treating diseases,” said Toby Cosgrove, MD, Cleveland Clinic president and CEO. “This is not a departure for Cleveland Clinic, but a continuation of the innovative, holistic approach that we have embraced, which includes the establishment of the Wellness Institute, the Center for Integrative Medicine, the Chinese Herbal Therapy Clinic, and the Center for Personalized Healthcare.”

According to the CDC, more than 75 percent of total healthcare cost in the US can be attributed to chronic conditions, with about 133 million Americans (nearly 1 in 2 adults) living with at least one chronic illness. In Functional Medicine, healthcare providers work with chronic disease patients to address the root causes of illness to better prevent, treat, and reverse disease.

“Functional Medicine looks at the underlying causes of disease, while focusing on the whole person rather than an isolated set of symptoms,” Dr. Hyman said. “We look at a patient’s history and the personalized interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.” Cleveland Clinic will become the first academic medical center to embrace Functional Medicine, bringing academic, clinical research to the field.

The Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine has been created in collaboration with The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), which is also led by Dr. Hyman. In addition to Dr. Hyman, Patrick Hanaway, MD, will join Cleveland Clinic as the Center’s medical director. Hanaway is IFM’s chief medical education director, a past president of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine, and co-founder of Family to Family: Your Home for Whole Family Health in Asheville, North Carolina.

The Center for Functional Medicine will introduce itself to the community at four upcoming events, which will include a showing of “Fed Up,” a documentary that examines the role of the food industry in the ongoing childhood obesity epidemic:

Sept. 23, 5 to 7 p.m., in Bunts Auditorium on Cleveland Clinic’s main campus.

Oct. 22, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Richard E. Jacobs Health Center, 33100 Cleveland Clinic Blvd., Avon.

Oct. 23, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Cleveland Clinic Lyndhurst Campus, 1950 Richmond Rd., Lyndhurst.

Nov. 10, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Twinsburg Family Health & Surgery Center, 8701 Darrow Rd., Twinsburg.

 

Source: Cleveland Clinic, clevelandclinic.org; The Institute for Functional Medicine, functionalmedicine.org

 

Released: 09/24/14


Kaiser Permanente Awards $2.55 Million Grant to American Heart Association Initiative

Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest integrated healthcare system, will support the American Heart Association (AHA) in a broad effort to improve blood pressure control for African Americans in two US cities over three years. The program will depend upon community-based efforts, as well as doctors and patients, to help decrease the burden of the so-called "silent killer," aiming to create a model that can be replicated in communities across the country.

The initiative is a collaboration among clinics, healthcare providers, community organizations, volunteer health mentors, and technology. The goal is to help patients track their blood pressure readings, share them with their caregivers and physicians, and monitor their progress over time. Through the grant from the Kaiser Permanente National Community Benefit Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation, AHA will launch the Community to Clinic, Clinic to Community (C2C2): Improving Hypertension Control in Blacks and African Americans initiative. It will initially roll out in Atlanta and San Diego.

"As a recognized leader in identifying, measuring, and eliminating healthcare disparities, Kaiser Permanente has a long history of investing in research and programs that help improve the health and well-being of individuals and distinct populations," said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. "We are proud to be a part of this effort, which will help raise awareness about the dangers of high blood pressure and ultimately help reduce the prevalence of heart attacks and strokes in the African American community."

"In the scheme of what we can do to address preventable heart disease, strokes, and other health problems, taking on and bringing down uncontrolled high blood pressure can prevent heart disease and strokes and save lives. It is that simple," said AHA deputy chief science officer Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH.

"Kaiser Permanente has shown that a clinic-based program works to control blood pressure better, and the American Heart Association has shown that a community-based program works to control blood pressure better. It only makes sense to combine clinical care and community programs to build a comprehensive approach to control blood pressure," Dr. Sanchez said.

Regular blood pressure checks are a key component of the program because high blood pressure often does not have symptoms. Patients will be offered an opportunity to enroll in the program, which will include access to the AHA's Heart360 online health management program. They can use Heart360 to track their blood pressure as well as other related health factors. The data will be accessible to the patient, a volunteer health mentor, and a healthcare provider.

"This unprecedented initiative will connect the African American community to patient-centered, culturally competent tools and resources that meet them where they live, work, and pray," said Winston F. Wong, MD, MS, medical director, Community Benefit, and director of Disparities and Quality Initiatives at Kaiser Permanente. "Our goal is to advance access to high-quality care for individuals typically not engaged with the health system, thereby reducing disparities of morbidity and mortality."

The community location, which may include retail pharmacies, churches, or community centers, will work in tandem with the clinic, reinforcing doctors' orders and even serving as a liaison between patient and clinic. In turn, clinic staff will reinforce the patient's relationship with the health mentor and community site, where they'll be receiving encouragement and accountability for making healthy choices and staying on their medication.

The prevalence of high blood pressure in African Americans in the United States is among the highest in the world. More than 40 percent of the black population in the US has hypertension, with disproportionate rates among younger individuals. Higher rates of untreated high blood pressure contribute to rates of kidney failure, strokes, and heart attacks in the black population that well exceed the US average.

The initiative will also seek to raise public awareness of this issue through public service announcements, social media, and community-based campaigns which stress that controlling blood pressure is a matter of life and death.

Community-based blood pressure programs have a proven track record for success. A Kaiser Permanente program doubled hypertension control over eight years among health plan participants in Northern California. The American Heart Association, working with Durham Health Innovations in Durham, North Carolina, improved blood pressure control by 12 percent over six months.

 

Source: Kaiser Permanente, kaiserpermanente.org

 

Released: 09/16/14


“You Are as Old as Your Arteries” Adage Still Holds True

A new study led by a Baptist Health South Florida researcher shows that absence of coronary artery calcium (CAC) in elderly individuals directly relates to a very low risk of having a heart attack in the next decade. On the other hand, the early presence of CAC in younger individuals (between the ages of 45 and 55) was associated with a much higher risk of heart attack in the same time period. The article is available here: mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(14)00539-4/fulltext.

“The findings are in line with previous reports where we clearly show that coronary artery calcium is best at predicting a lower risk of heart attacks, even in individuals who are considered to be at higher risk by traditional measures, such as high cholesterol, multiple risk factors, diabetes, and, as in our study, being elderly,” said Khurram Nasir, MD, MPH, the study’s senior author and director of research for the Center for Wellness and Prevention at Baptist Health Medical Group in Miami.

In the study published online yesterday in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers assessed whether a simple computed tomography (CT) heart scan that measures the degree of plaque deposits in the coronary arteries, known as CAC testing, could better predict heart disease across the entire spectrum of aging. Current national American Heart Association guidelines use algorithms heavily dependent on age to determine an individual’s potential for having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.

“We believe that irrespective of age, CAC testing provides a personalized assessment of risk to help a clinician accurately weigh treatments as well as allow patients to make a more informed decision regarding the need for a lifelong commitment to preventive medications, such as statins,” said Dr. Nasir, who also is an adjunct faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The study is based on data from nearly 7,000 adult participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

Results from traditional risk factor computations could make an individual a candidate for heart disease management with statins, which are known to reduce risk for heart attack in appropriate individuals. For example, almost all men and the majority of women age 65 and older are considered for statin treatment even in the absence of other risk factors, such as high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, or hypertension, whereas many young individuals are not considered at risk.

In the study, one-third of elderly individuals (those between age 65 and 74) had no detectable calcium deposits on the heart scan for a very low risk of having a heart attack, yet because of their age were likely candidates for preventive medications. Conversely, almost 20 percent of much younger individuals (those between age 45 and 54), had mild amounts of calcium deposits and a higher risk of a heart attack in the time duration, yet their age range did not automatically put them in the risk category for treatment with medications.

“The results clearly establish that the belief, ‘You are as old as your arteries,’ holds true. We strongly believe this data along with our other reports will strongly influence future guidelines, giving CAC testing a major role in accurately assessing the risk of having a heart attack irrespective of one’s age group. Considering the heart scan is the most accurate predictor of heart attacks, costs only $100, takes two to three minutes to perform, is widely available and associated with minimal radiation, the debate has shifted from ‘Why heart scan?’ to ‘Why not?’” Dr. Nasir said.

The study, “Association of Coronary Artery Calcium and Coronary Heart Disease Events in Young and Elderly Participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis: A Secondary Analysis of a Prospective, Population-Based Cohort,” was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant numbers N01-HC-95159 through N01-HC-95169 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

 

Released: 09/11/14


New International Survey Finds MS Patients and Neurologists View Communication Positively, Yet Struggle to Discuss Key MS Symptoms

Findings from an international survey show differences in the perceptions of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and neurologists when discussing MS symptoms, including those that are personal and sensitive. While the results generally suggest a positive assessment of current practice in MS, important gaps were identified that could potentially impact disease management and patient quality of life. These findings will be presented this week at the Sixth Triennial Joint Meeting of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis and the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS) in Boston.

“Our alliance with the State of MS Consortium will ultimately help us work with the MS community to address these issues and continue to improve care.”

The survey, commissioned by Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) and conducted online by Harris Poll, was developed in partnership with the State of MS Consortium, an international steering committee of treating neurologists from five countries and representatives from patient advocacy groups. The survey involved MS patients and neurologists who treat the disease in Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (U.S.) and aimed to understand the current experiences of those living with and treating the disease, including communication between MS patients and their physicians.

“There are a variety of symptoms a person living with MS can experience, and as physicians we need to constantly evaluate the most effective strategies to address all of our patients’ needs,” said Mar Tintore, MD, PhD, senior consultant neurologist, Neurology-Neuroimmunology Department, MS Centre of Catalonia, Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain. “This survey illustrates that while there is a high degree of satisfaction with overall physician-patient communication, disconnects between patients and physicians mean some symptoms could be under-managed.”

Despite Open Communication, Discomfort Remains in Discussing Typical Symptoms, Including Those That Are Private and Sensitive
More than eight in ten patients (83 percent) say they feel comfortable talking about their MS with their neurologists, noting their neurologist provides them with helpful information (81 percent). Moreover, 85 percent of patients characterize their neurologist as honest in setting their expectations for therapy success. Similarly, nearly all neurologists (96 percent) feel they have an open dialogue in which their patients can ask any question they want, and 90 percent indicate they have a good understanding of all aspects of their patients’ disease. Yet a divide exists specifically around communication about certain MS symptoms.

Neurologists tend to underestimate their patients’ discomfort talking about MS symptoms often associated with the disease, while overestimating patient discomfort discussing other, more private symptoms. Nearly one in five patients who experience MS symptoms report being uncomfortable speaking with their neurologist about their difficulty walking (19 percent), tremors (19 percent) and muscle spasms (18 percent), but only 2 to 3 percent of neurologists identify these symptoms as uncomfortable topics for their patients to discuss with them. Conversely, neurologists are in alignment with patients when identifying the most difficult topics for patients to discuss, and tend to expect a higher level of discomfort than what is expressed by patients. The sensitive symptoms that emerged as the most uncomfortable for patients to discuss were sexual difficulties (54 percent of patients, with 87 percent of neurologists perceiving this as being uncomfortable for patients) bladder or bowel problems (28 percent; 54 percent), mood swings (26 percent; 37 percent) and cognitive/memory issues (21 percent; 37 percent).

What can Hinder Communication?
Not surprisingly, time constraints are cited as the greatest barrier by neurologists (47 percent) when it comes to patient communication. For patients, however, not wanting to be perceived as being “difficult” was cited as the barrier that most interfered with communication with their physicians (24 percent), followed by time constraints (21 percent).

“The discomfort reported by both people living with MS and treating physicians suggests that important conversations about all of the symptoms associated with MS may not be happening,” said Maggie Alexander, chief executive, European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP). “People with MS and their physicians should be empowered and equipped to discuss all aspects of the disease. This open and honest dialogue is critical to achieving improved quality of life and better long-term outcomes.”

Information is Accessible, but More is Needed
While the survey shows communication gaps between patients and neurologists exist, findings also demonstrate respondents are seeking information about the disease:

·         Sixty-three percent of physicians recommend materials available at their office to their patients, while only 19 percent of patients cite these materials as most helpful;

·         Seventy-two percent of patients find online and social media resources most helpful for finding information about MS; these resources are also recommended by 73 percent of physicians to their patients;

·         Many neurologists indicate a desire for additional resources to provide to their MS patients, including information on maintaining cognitive function (49 percent), managing the emotional challenges of having MS (45 percent) and being sexually active (43 percent).

“At Biogen Idec, we believe that successful MS treatment extends beyond medication. Our goal with this survey was to better understand the needs of the patient and the physician, and through that understanding bring a new awareness to the importance of a comprehensive dialogue about MS,” said Gilmore O’Neill, vice president, Multiple Sclerosis Research and Development, Biogen Idec. “Our alliance with the State of MS Consortium will ultimately help us work with the MS community to address these issues and continue to improve care.”

 

In collaboration with the State of MS Consortium, an in-depth report of these findings and perspectives from the committee members is currently under development, and will be available to the MS community by the end of the year. As part of its ongoing commitment, Biogen Idec continues to evaluate the results of this survey and work with the community to identify new and innovative solutions to improve care for MS patients. For more information about the State of MS, visit BiogenMS.com. 

 

Released: 09/09/14


International Dietary Supplement Trade Alliance Endorses Botanical Adulterants Educational Program

The International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) has endorsed the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program, an international consortium of nonprofit organizations, analytical laboratories, industry members, professional scientists, and others that advises industry, health professionals, and researchers about the various challenges related to adulterated herb and botanical ingredients sold in commerce.

IADSA, an international organization of trade associations composed of suppliers and manufacturers of dietary supplements, gave notice of its support in a letter dated August 3rd from IADSA Executive Director Simon Pettman to Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC) and general manager of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program. In the letter, Pettman said of the decision, "…IADSA is constantly seeking ways in which to improve standards within the global industry and demonstrate that dietary supplements are a category of products that deserve the trust of decision-makers in government. We consider that your program will help us move forward on both these objectives and in time will provide real consumer benefits."

According to its website, IADSA has 48 member associations, representing thousands of companies worldwide.

Adulteration refers to the accidental or intentional substitution or dilution of a material with an undisclosed lower-cost ingredient, thereby giving the consumer or user a false sense of the value of an ingredient or product containing such an adulterated ingredient.

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program is a coalition of three American nonprofit groups: ABC, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), and the University of Mississippi's National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR), with more than 130 other American and international parties supporting and cooperating with the Program.

"The endorsement of our Program by IADSA signifies not only the global nature of the problem of adulteration in the botanical supply chain, but also represents the concerns of many responsible, forward-thinking members of the herb and dietary supplement industry in 33 countries regarding this significant problem, and their confidence in and cooperation with the educational work we are doing," said ABC's Blumenthal. "IADSA's involvement constitutes a quantum leap in the Program's level of activity," he added.

"IADSA supports this excellent program to bring safe and authenticated botanicals to consumers globally," said Peter Zambetti, chairman emeritus of IADSA and director of global business development at Capsugel, the world's largest manufacturer of gelatin capsules used in the manufacture of dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals.

"IADSA's endorsement of this Program is a significant development for us, and helps to ensure that we have the prospect of success on an international basis, connecting organizations pursuing similar aims," said Stefan Gafner, PhD, ABC's chief science officer and technical director of the Botanical Adulterants Program. "We look forward to working with more botanical quality control experts from other organizations and scientists in the international arena," he added.

According to Michelle Stout, treasurer of IADSA and regulatory policy director at Amway, one of the world's largest producers of dietary supplements, "Authenticity of a botanical impacts its quality which directly impacts its efficacy and safety. The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program is an important initiative for building standards to ensure that the botanicals used in supplements are authentic and free from any deliberate or accidental adulteration."

IADSA's endorsement of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program follows similar endorsements made last year by the international Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (known by its German acronym, GA) and the American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP). The GA and ASP are the two largest organizations of professional researchers in the field of medicinal plants and drugs of natural origin.

 

To date, the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program has published five extensively peer-reviewed and referenced articles on the history of adulteration, the adulteration of the herbs black cohosh and skullcap, and adulteration of extracts of bilberry fruit and grapefruit seed. These open-access articles are available on the Program's webpage: herbalgram.org/adulterants. The Program also publishes a quarterly newsletter, "The Botanical Adulterants Monitor" that highlights new scientific publications related to botanical authenticity and analysis to detect possible adulteration, recent regulatory actions, and Program news. Additional publications from the Program are being scheduled for release in the coming weeks and months.

 

Released: 09/09/14


JournalGuide Introduces New Verified Status To Help Researchers Identify Trusted Journals

JournalGuide – a free tool created by Research Square to help researchers choose the best journal for their manuscript – has added a new designation to its database to help authors identify the most reputable publishing options.

Journals with this new Verified status are confirmed to be included in at least one high-value index or vetted by more than one subject-specialized index, saving researchers time and energy comparing multiple websites and formats to validate the coverage of a journal. In addition to viewing this status on the journal's profile page, users can filter their search results to only display Verified journals.

Instead of creating a new set of criteria to evaluate journals, JournalGuide builds on the work of the specialists and scholars who already select materials for scholarly indexes or research assessment, making the Verified tag a concert of voices – collected and filtered by JournalGuide into a centralized source. Because JournalGuide is intended to be comprehensive rather than selective, we adopted a positive "whitelist" approach to this process that highlights legitimate journals instead of attempting to exclude "blacklist" journals or publishers.

"Our goal has always been to assimilate the massive scope and scale of journal information in one place, to make it easy for researchers to evaluate journals based on the criteria most important to them," says Research Square VP of Business Development Keith Collier. "With the current explosion of journal growth and concerns about predatory and fraudulent practices, we realized that we were in a unique position to provide an independent source for trusted journals."

According to Collier, the need to evaluate the legitimacy of a journal has become an almost everyday occurrence. "Researchers get emails from unfamiliar journals asking them to submit papers, review for the journal, or even join its editorial board," he explains. "We wanted to provide them with the fastest and easiest way to identify trusted journals."

While intended to be inclusive, the list of Verified journals is not exhaustive, and the absence of the Verified tag on a journal's JournalGuide page merely indicates that we were not able to verify its acceptance as a source of validated content in its field at this time. Therefore, journals lacking a Verified designation are not necessarily predatory. It is also important to note that the Verified list is non-tiered, and that a journal's impact and reputation were not considered as part of the inclusion criteria. JournalGuide will continue to expand their survey of scholarly indexes to identify additional journals that are accepted sources of validated research in their communities.

JournalGuide was designed to support multiple sources of journal information. Each title in JournalGuide, whether or not it has been identified as Verified, has been provided with a unique profile page that includes basic publication information provided by publishers, journals, or other public sources. However, the journal cannot and should not be the only voice, especially in the emerging environment where there exist journals that are known to misrepresent their content with the presumed intent of deceiving potential authors. This new Verified status is an independent check of journal data against major indexes that authors can use to make data-driven decisions about where to publish.

For more information about JournalGuide, visit journalguide.com. To access a detailed white paper on the criteria and process of the Verified designation, go to http://goo.gl/xoMyuz

 

Released: 09/03/14


Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center Recognized for Providing Exceptional Quality Care by American Society of Clinical Oncology

Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center has been recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), for meeting the highest standards for quality cancer care.  The QOPI Certification Program (QCP) provides a three-year certification for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet the benchmarks.

"We are honored to receive this esteemed certification from ASCO," said Scott Jones, CEO and president of CTCA at Midwestern. "We are dedicated to providing quality care to our patients and we are pleased to be recognized for our commitment."

QOPI is a voluntary, self-assessment and improvement program launched by ASCO in 2006 to help hematology-oncology and medical oncology practices assess the quality of the care they provide to patients. The QCP was launched in January 2010, with more than 200 practices already certified. This is the first program of its kind for oncology in the United States. Oncologists can achieve certification by meeting the highest standards of care.

QOPI analyzes individual practice data and compares these to more than 160 evidence-based and consensus quality measures. The information is then provided in reports to participating practices.  Individual practices are also able to compare their performance to data from other practices across the country. Based on this feedback, doctors and outpatient practices can identify areas for improvement.  

To become certified, practices have to submit an evaluation of their entire practice and documentation standards. The QCP staff and steering group members then verify through on-site inspection that the evaluation and documents are correct and that the practice meets core standards in areas of:

·         Treatment planning

·         Staff training and education

·         Chemotherapy orders and drug preparation

·         Patient consent and education

·         Safe chemotherapy administration

·         Monitoring and assessment of patient well-being

The QCP seal designates those practices that not only scored high on the key QOPI quality measures, but meet rigorous chemotherapy safety standards established by ASCO and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). The QOPI Certification Program is a project of ASCO's Institute for Quality, an ASCO affiliate dedicated to innovative quality improvement programs. For more information, please visit qopi.asco.org/certification.html.

CTCA at Midwestern is also a Magnet recognized center for nursing excellence, a designation the hospital earned in 2013. For more information about CTCA, please visit cancercenter.com.

 

SOURCE Cancer Treatment Centers of America

 

Released: 09/03/14


XYMOGEN Ranked Among The Nation's Fastest Growing Private Companies For A Seventh Time

Orlando-based health sciences company XYMOGEN announced today that it has been recognized for the seventh time on Inc. Magazine's Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing and best run private companies in the nation.

Inc. Magazine compiles the annual list based on revenue growth over a three-year period. 

As a seven-time winner, XYMOGEN is part of an exclusive group known as the Honor Roll Alumni, a select circle of businesses to have made the list at least five times. This year also marks the fifth consecutive year that the company has earned a spot in the rankings.

With 27 percent revenue growth in 2013 and more than 200 jobs added since 2009, XYMOGEN is one of very few companies to thrive during a tough economic time. The company credits its growth and momentum to a company culture that focuses on its team of dedicated employees.

"Our success is an authentic reflection of the XYMOGEN family's hard work and commitment to what we do," said CEO Brian Blackburn. "XYMOGEN's success comes from innovative thinking and a customer-focused mentality that our employees work toward every day."

XYMOGEN is known for providing high-quality dietary supplements to licensed health care practitioners and the functional medicine community. The company attributes its strength and reputation to a "People First" culture, which offers employees unprecedented opportunities for professional growth and fulfillment. 

 

 

SOURCE XYMOGEN

 

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