May 17, 2020

TOP 10: Most Promising Drugs Guaranteed to Save Lives in 2015

4 min
From skin cancer to lupus, new drugs from big pharma giants are driving progress in extending lives of patients.
Big pharma is driving progress in the major causes of death around the world. The following drugs created by their respective companies reflect the most...

Big pharma is driving progress in the major causes of death around the world. The following drugs created by their respective companies reflect the most promising medical breakthroughs that will impact patients in the coming year.

10. Cyramza by Eli Lilly and Company

Eli Lilly and Company’s (NYSE: LLY) drug Cyramza was recently approved by the FDA as a treatment for people with advanced or metastatic gastric (stomach) cancer. The approval of this combination regimen is for patients whose cancer has progressed on or after prior fluoropyrimidine- or platinum-containing chemotherapy. Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world and is the third-leading cause of cancer death.

9. OFEV by Boehringer Ingelheim

OFEV (nintedanib) by Boehringer Ingelheim has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Prior to the approval, there were no FDA-approved treatments for IPF. In clinical trials, the drug reduced the annual decline in lung function by approximately 50 percent.

8. Palbociclib by Pfizer

The experimental breast cancer drug by Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) significantly delayed progression of symptoms in a mid-stage trial. The trial tested the pill in post-menopausal patients with locally advanced or newly diagnosed breast cancer that had spread to other parts of the body. A secondary goal of the study is to determine whether palbociclib can prolong overall survival. Pfizer recently announced the completion of submission of a New Drug Application to the FDA.

7. Kadcyla by Roche

Roche’s (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) Kadcyla is the third HER2-targeted mAb drug from the company for the second-line treatment of metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. Kadcyla can extend life by six months longer than the next best treatment. According to Roche, Kadcyla took 15 years to develop. It is already routinely available in several European countries.

6. Nivolumab by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (NYSE: BMY) new drug helped skin cancer patients live longer than those who received chemotherapy in a clinical trial. Roughly 73 percent of melanoma patients receiving nivolumab were still alive one year later after the start of treatment. Bristol-Myers has applied for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of nivolumab as a treatment for melanoma, and expects a decision by March 2015.

5. Olysio by Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) recently won U.S. approval for its hepatitis C drug Olysio to be used in combination with Gilead Sciences Inc.’s Sovaldi, making it the second all-oral treatment available. The combination allows Olysio to be used without the standard therapies including interferon, an injection that sometimes has flu-like side effects.

4. LCZ696 by Novartis

When directly compared to standard treatment in heart failure patients, Novartis’ (NYSE: NVS) LCZ696 reduced the risk of cardiovascular death by 20 percent. The drug has been given fast-track status by the FDA which is good news for the 5 million U.S. patients currently suffering from heart failure.

3. Sifalimumab by AstraZeneca

An experimental lupus drug from AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) significantly improved the symptoms of the chronic, autoimmune disease lupus in a mid-stage clinical trial. Sifalimumab targets interferon, a protein involved in inflammation, and the drug was reported to improve symptoms at all doses. Sifalimumab is one of two drugs for lupus being developed by AstraZeneca's biotech unit MedImmune.

2. Dengue Fever Vaccine by Sanofi

The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) has been working to create the world’s first vaccine against the mosquito-borne viral  disease dengue fever and with recent trial successes, the company predicts the vaccine to be available by the second half of 2015. Results of the last stage of the clinical study showed that the vaccine gives a 95.5 percent protection against severe dengue and an 80.3 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalization.

1. Keytruda by Merck

Merck (NYSE: MRK) recently received FDA approval for its new immune-oncology drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab). The drug will cost roughly $12,500 per month for treatment and targets advanced melanoma that accounts for most of the deaths from skin cancer cases. Keytruda also has potential in other cancers with studies underway in lung and kidney cancer. 

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Jun 13, 2021

How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats

Jonathan Miles
6 min
Jonathan Miles, Head of Strategic Intelligence and Security Research at Mimecast, tells us how the healthcare sector can protect itself from attacks

One of the most fundamental lessons from the COVID crisis is that health should always be a priority.  In a similar fashion to the human body that frequently fights off viruses and foreign invaders that intend to cause it harm, the sector itself is now a prime target for another type of external threat: cyberattacks.

The figures speak for themselves: between December and January this year, hospitals in the UK were at 89% capacity, with 7,000 fewer available beds than there usually are. As the pandemic increased pressure on hospitals, clinics, and research facilities to create a treatment for patients globally, it has left the sector exposed to hackers who, like a virus, have been targeting it relentlessly and evolving their tactics. 

From patient records being held ransom, to fake emails claiming to originate from the UN WHO, the NHS, or vaccine centres, through to attacks on the cold supply chain to find out the secret formula of the COVID vaccine, the healthcare industry is facing constant cyberattacks and struggling to cope. This threat is unlikely to go away anytime soon – and as such, the industry needs to take a proactive, preventative stance to stay safe in a dynamic digital world. 

Going digital 

The responsive nature of healthcare – particularly of hospitals – means that efficiency is crucial to the industry’s standard operations. To support this, the sector has been embracing technological advancements that can improve the quality of work, enabling staff to meet pressing deadlines, and enhancing patient care. For example, the industry has been digitising records and improving its ways of working through digital means over the past few years. 

This shift is critical to offer high quality patient care; yet, it also means the sector has become more dependent on IT, which can come with a risk if cybersecurity processes employed are deemed as inadequate. 

Without the correct security measures in place, the desired efficiency gains realised, can be easily lost in a heartbeat. Simply put, an elementary glitch in the system can have a tremendous ripple effect on many areas, from accessing patient records and conducting scans, to maintaining physical security and protecting the intellectual property of experimental treatment development.

To prevent this, healthcare organisations need to ensure they’re considering cybersecurity as part of their overall digital transformation strategy – and setting the right foundations to create a culture where safety goes hand in hand with patient care. 

Strengthening defences

Before implementing cybersecurity process, healthcare organisations need to assess the potential risks they face. Depending on how much confidential data the trust has, where it is stored, who has access to it and via which means, the cybersecurity strategy and associated solutions will change. 

It’s fair to say that a medical device start-up where all employees have a corporate-sanctioned laptop and access data via a VPN will have radically different needs to a large hospital with hundreds of frontline workers connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi using their personal device. 

These requirements will pale by comparison to a global pharmaceutical giant with offices in multiple locations, a large R&D department researching new treatments for complex diseases and a fully integrated supply chain. Considering the existing setup and what the organisations is looking to achieve with its digital transformation strategy will therefore have an immediate impact on the cybersecurity strategy.

Despite this, there are fundamentals that any organisation should implement: 
Review and test your back-up policy to ensure it is thorough and sufficient – By checking that the organisation’s back-up is running smoothly, IT teams can limit any risks of disruption in the midst of an incident and of losing data permanently.

In our recent State of Email Security report, we found that six out of ten organisations have been victims of ransomware in 2020. As a result, afflicted organisations have lost an average of six days to downtime. One third of organisations even admitted that they failed to get their data back, despite paying the ransom. In the healthcare industry, this could mean losing valuable patient records or data related to new treatments – two areas the sector cannot afford to be cavalier about.

Conduct due diligence across the organisation’s supply chain – Healthcare organisations should review their ways of working with partners, providers and regulatory institutions they work with in order to prevent any weak link in their cybersecurity chain. Without this due diligence, organisations leave themselves exposed to the risks of third party-led incidents. 

Roll out mandatory cybersecurity awareness training - Healthcare organisations shouldn’t neglect the training and awareness of their entire staff – including frontline workers who may not access the corporate network on a regular basis. According to our State of Email Security report, only one fifth of organisations carry out ongoing cyber awareness training.

This suggests it is not widely considered as a fundamental part of most organisations cyber-resilience strategy, despite the fact many employees rely on their organisation’s corporate network to work. By providing systematic training, healthcare organisations can help workers at all levels better understand the current cyberthreats they face, how they could impact their organisation, the role they play in defending the networks, and develop consistent, good cybersecurity hygiene habits to limit the risks of incidents. 
Consider a degree of separation – Information and Operational Technology (IT and OT) networks should be separated.

Although mutually supported and reliance on each other, employees shouldn’t be accessing one via the other. This should be complemented by a considered tried and tested contingency and resiliency plan that allows crucial services to function unabated should there be a compromise. Similarly, admin terminals should not have internet access to afford a degree of hardening and protection for these critical accounts.

As the sector becomes a common target for fraudulent and malicious activity, putting cybersecurity at the core of the organisation’s operations is critical. It will help limit the risks of disruption due to cyberattacks, reduce time spent by the cybersecurity team to resolve easily avoidable errors, and ensure that institutions can deliver patient care, safe in the knowledge that their networks are safe.  

Fighting future threats

With technology continuing to change the face of healthcare, the surface area and vectors available for attacks by malicious actors is constantly increasing. With the introduction of apps, networked monitoring devices, and a need for communication, the attack vector is ever expanding, a trend that needs to be monitored and secured against.

To prevent any damage to patients, staff, or the organisation they are responsible for, healthcare leaders must put security front and centre of their digital transformation strategy. Only then can the sector harness the full benefits of technology. Doing this should include implementing cybersecurity awareness training to challenge misconceptions around security, encourage conversation, and to ensure employee knowledge of the security basics and threats faced. 

This ultimately allows healthcare organisations to do what they do best: provide the highest standard of patient care, safe in the knowledge that their operations, patients, and data are safe.

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