Mandatory vaccination for children

The last Monthly Pulse of 2017 brought the M3 Global Research Community into the debate over vaccination for children. In the United States, according to data from 2015 published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 95% of children are vaccinated against Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, and 92% against Measles. Vaccination is required for school attendance to encourage immunization among children, but some states allow medical or religious exemptions.

European vaccination rates are high overall, with 93% being the lowest coverage for Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis in countries like Estonia, Italy and Lithuania, and as high as 99% in Belgium, Greece and Hungary. The rates for Measles are lower in some countries, at 85% in Italy and Denmark, for example.

Childhood vaccination will become mandatory in France this year. The move follows similar efforts by the Italian government, which has banned children from attending state schools if they haven’t been vaccinated.

Healthcare providers both in the US and in Europe are spending more time discussing this issue with patients’ parents than ever before, due to their increased hesitancy to vaccinate their children because of such concerns as possible side effects, potentially harmful ingredients, and religious freedom.

M3 asked: should more countries follow the examples of France and Italy? The results of this Monthly Pulse revealed that majority of respondents in Europe, Canada, and the US believe that vaccination should be mandatory for children.

Monthly pulse

 

In Europe, Spain had the highest rate (95%) of respondents who agree with mandatory vaccination:

vaccination for children

Talking to… Dr. Lawrence Feldman

Dr. Feldman, a dermatologist specialising in the treatment of melanoma, practising for 30 years in the US, spoke to the M3 blog about prevention, new treatment developments and the changes in patients’ approaches to the condition.

M3 Global Research is about to launch a large patient outcome study about melanoma. If you are a dermatologist or an oncologist and are interested in participating, please contact blog@eu.m3.com. If you are not a member of our panel and are interested in participating, you can register for this study here.

What do you think about new developments such as optical biopsy, or tests that look at gene expression patterns and allow physicians to see if stages 1 and 2 are likely to spread, new types of immunotherapy and targeted therapies etc?

The field has definitely changed dramatically, more so than any other field as we have gone from a situation where there was really no therapy that was effective, to now seeing therapies that can induce prolonged remission and even overall survival rates. As far as the gene expression profile, it is a huge advance, perhaps even replacing biopsy in the future. And with optical biopsy and dermatoscope use, the clinical diagnosis of melanoma has gotten much better.

How long ago would you say was the breakthrough?

I would say it began about five years ago. It’s really when things started to change, I guess with the introduction of Zelboraf (vemurafenib) – that was the big turning point.

How do you personally keep updated with news in melanoma treatment?

I would say conferences, congresses, symposiums, journal articles, Tumor Board. We have a Tumor Board at the hospital on a pretty regular basis, so all these things help us to keep up to date.

From your experience, how is the level of treatment in the US compared to other countries?

I think the level in the United States is high, I’d say it’s quite advanced. We definitively have access to many of the newer therapies.

And how is access to treatment for patients? Do most insurances cover melanoma treatment now?

If you are following NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) guidelines, access is very good. It is harder to get access off-label.

What’s the part played by prevention in skin cancer?

I would say it’s the key. Prevention is better than treatment. So, especially if it’s about avoiding sunburn early on, that would be probably the most critical thing.

During the past 30 years have you noticed changes in patients’ attitudes and empowerment? Are patients more aware of conditions such as melanoma and therefore pay more attention to their own bodies, coming to you with questions?

I think people are more aware of it. Even younger people are more aware of the sun causing it, and even tanning salons, that are ‘a big thing’ in the United States and also a big campaign that has got more publicity recently.

How important is early detection for the treatment of melanoma?

It’s key. We talk about 3 things: prevention, early detection, and treatment. Prevention is the most important, so you don’t have the problem at all; early detection is vital because if you catch the melanoma before it’s reached a certain depth, then you don’t really need any other therapy; and then early treatment, for patients that are less fortunate.

Researchers Develop Test That Can Diagnose Two Cancer Types

This is an article published by the Georgia State University.

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A blood test using infrared spectroscopy can be used to diagnose two types of cancer, lymphoma and melanoma, according to a study led by Georgia State University.

Researchers used mid-infrared spectroscopy to analyze blood serum derived from experimental mice and differentiate mice with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and subcutaneous melanoma from healthy mice and also between these two tumorous conditions. The mid-infrared spectral region of the electromagnetic spectrum is frequently used to characterize biological samples at the molecular level.

The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggest infrared spectroscopy can detect biochemical changes induced by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a solid tumorous condition of the immune system, and subcutaneous melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, and has diagnostic potential as a screening technique for these cancers.

Studies have found the incidence rates of cutaneous melanoma have increased in many regions and populations over the last decade, specifically 3 to 7 percent per year among fair-skinned populations. Also, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma accounts for 4.3 percent of new cancer cases in the United States. The available diagnostic regimen for both cancers, which includes tissue examination and biopsy, is time-consuming, invasive and costly, resulting in small compliance rates of eligible populations for cancer prescreening.

Developing a rapid and reliable prescreening strategy for melanoma and lymphoma is critical because early diagnosis and treatment of these malignancies improve the patients’ chances of survival. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy in Attenuated Total Reflection (ATR) sampling mode provides high-quality results with better reproducibility compared to other vibrational spectroscopy. It has attracted scientists’ attention for its rapid and reliable detection of various health conditions using body fluid samples.

In previous work, Dr. Unil Perera, Regents’ Professor of Physics at Georgia State, and his colleagues discovered that a fast, simple blood test for ulcerative colitis using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy could provide a cheaper, less invasive alternative for screening compared to colonoscopy.

“Our final goal is to say we can use this infrared technique to identify various diseases,” Perera said. “This study shows infrared spectroscopy can identify cancer. Right now, when you go to the doctor, they do blood tests for sugar and several other things, but not for serious diseases like cancer and colitis. If you are a healthy person, there is a range that is normal. One day, we hope that even these serious diseases can be rapidly screened. Your primary doctor could keep a record of your number and check that every time you come back. Then, if there is some indication of cancer or colitis, they can do biopsies, colonoscopies, etc.”

In this recent study, the researchers used mice with lymphoma and melanoma cancers. Blood serum droplets extracted from cancerous mice and control mice were placed on an ATR crystal of the FTIR instrument. Incident infrared beams were absorbed and reflected by the serum, creating a wave that was recorded and used to produce an absorbance curve with peaks that identified the presence of certain biomarkers in the sample.

The researchers compared the absorbance curves from the control and tumorous mice and assessed biochemical changes induced by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and subcutaneous melanoma in the serum samples obtained from Dr. Yuan Liu’s research lab in Georgia State’s Department of Biology.

The study found remarkable differences between the ATR-FTIR spectra of serum samples from tumor-bearing mice with melanoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and healthy, control mice.

The findings are applicable to humans because mice and humans have some biomarkers and chemicals in common, Perera said. In previous studies on colitis, Perera and his colleagues identified specific chemicals that changed in humans and mice when colitis was present.

Using the data collected on the biomarkers for lymphoma and melanoma, the researchers can develop detectors for these particular absorbance peaks, which doctors could use to test patients’ blood samples for these cancers.

Doctors could track a patient’s blood test numbers starting in infancy and monitor them over the years to know exactly when the numbers begin to change. To make before and after comparisons of the blood samples, the data could be entered into a computer program and available statistical analysis software would determine any significant differences. Doctors wouldn’t need to do any sophisticated analysis, Perera said.

This work could lay the foundation for further research that could lead to the development of diagnostic techniques for the health care of melanoma and lymphoma cancer patients using body fluid samples that can be collected with relatively low risks, Perera said. In the future, Perera and his colleagues would like to use samples from human patients for infrared spectroscopy studies of cancer and other diseases.

Other authors of the study include Hemendra Ghimire, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State, and Mahathi Venkataramani, Dr. Zhen Bian and Dr. Yuan Liu of the Department of Biology at Georgia State.

The study is funded by the U.S. Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Institutes of Health.

 

All rights belong to the Georgia State UniversityFeatured Researcher: Dr. Unil Perera. We would like to thank the Georgia State University for sharing this content with us.

Take Part in a Melanoma Patient Outcome Study

Patient outcome studies are becoming increasingly important as they provide a truly in-depth analysis of the chosen subject matter as well as benefits to the participants.

We are pleased to announce that we will have a patient outcome study regarding melanoma very soon in the United States and the incentive will be up to $600We are looking for oncologists and dermatologists practicing in the United States that specialize in melanoma treatments to participate in this exciting study.

This multi-stage study involves both treaters and those receiving the treatment providing an in-depth understanding of clinical, behavioral, and payer practice in distinct areas. All data is strictly confidential.

The data collected from this study will be used to ensure the best possible treatment guidelines. Furthermore, it will be published in peer-review journals and presented at key conferences.

If you are not a member and you wish to participate in this study, register below by clicking here.

If you are already a member of our panel and you wish to reserve your place, please let us know: M3_US_support@eu.m3.com

Read the interview with a melanoma specialist from the United States in the section “Our Doctors talk”.

black ribbons on hands, for Skin cancer awareness, Melanoma Awareness,Narcolepsy Awareness and Mourning