Medical Treatments

Xconomy Report: Video Game Medicine

By   |   Friday, March 16, 2012
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Mar. 16, 2012

Dr. Mario

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Could your child leave his next checkup with a prescription for a video game? Akili Interactive Labs, founded by Boston’s PureTech Ventures, is hoping its game — designed to treat ADHD, autism and the like — will be the first one approved by the Food and Drug Association as a medical device. Akili was co-founded by San Francisco-based neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley. It’s unclear at this point how the game will work, but Akili is betting it can improve cognition by tapping into the brain’s capacity to overcome interruptions through practice. That’s more than Angry Birds can say. 

In other innovation news …
Burlington-based Demandware is the latest local tech company to go public, joining the ranks of TripAdvisor, Brightcove and Carbonite. The e-commerce software firm raised $88 million in its IPO and is valued at around half a billion dollars.
Not to be outdone, Lowell-based semiconductor firm M/A-COM Technology (pronounced "May-com") has also gone public this week, raising over $100 million in its offering.
And our quote of the week comes from Ted Morgan, CEO of Boston-based Skyhook, who offered this advice for companies building mobile software, platforms and apps: “Google and Apple want to own the whole stack. It’s hard for startups, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”

p.s. Dr. Mario, anyone?

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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Human Genome Research in the Fight Against Cancer

Friday, March 9, 2012
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March 9, 2012


Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms: Slight variations in our DNA sequences can have a major impact on whether or not we develop a disease and on our particular responses to such environmental insults as bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Image from the Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science

BOSTON — How are advances in understanding the human genome leading to the development of more effective treatments for disease? John Quackenbush, professor at Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, explains how recent technology is providing new insight into the nature of tumors, and how to detect early warning signs of the gene mutations that lead to cancer.

Quackenbush also discusses the complexities of treating breast cancer that have been unearthed through genetic research: despite the fact that the cancer occurs in a specific body part, the role that specific genes play in causing the disease can be incredibly varied, resulting in the need for different kinds of treatment for different kinds of tumors. 

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Dr. Gary Small: Preventing Alzheimer's Disease

Friday, March 2, 2012
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March 2, 2012

BOSTON — Alzheimer’s disease currently afflicts 5 million Americans; one American is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 70 seconds. There is no known cure, and the suggestion that Alzheimer's can be prevented is deeply debated within the scientific community — can doing crossword puzzles, for example, really help stave off the degenerative effects of the disease? Dr. Gary Small, UCLA neuroscientist argues that there are in fact steps we can take to at least delay the symptoms of mental decline. Here, he offers tips for keeping the brain healthy through exercise, diet, and stress management that may at least result in better quality of life. View the full lecture on WGBH's Forum Network.

Xconomy Report: Tech in the Air

By   |   Friday, March 2, 2012
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March 2, 2012


Cesna 402, photo courtesy of Cape Air

BOSTON —The Internet is abuzz over Google’s new privacy policy and its effect on targeted advertising. But another bit of news has emerged from the search giant’s Cambridge office. I.T.A. Software, an M.I.T.-bred company bought by Google for $700 million, has rolled out a new reservation system for airlines, starting with Hyannis-based Cape Air. The software is different from I.T.A.’s main business of flight search. So it remains to be seen how Google might integrate I.T.A.’s staff and broader technology to compete with travel search sites like Kayak, Expedia, and Bing.
In other innovation news, three Boston-area life sciences companies inked deals worth more than $200 million apiece:
Healthcare firm Alere acquired the toxicology screening company eScreen.
Boston Biomedical, a maker of cancer stem cell drugs, was acquired by Japan-based Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma.
And Concert Pharmaceuticals sold a worldwide license of its psychiatric drug to California-based Avanir Pharmaceuticals.
Meanwhile, India’s largest automaker, Tata Motors, has commissioned Watertown-based A123 Systems to supply the battery packs for its line of hybrid electric buses and other commercial vehicles. A123 has also begun rehiring the 125 employees it laid off last year.

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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: Finding The Next Facebook

By   |   Friday, February 3, 2012
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Feb. 3, 2012

mark zuckerberg facebook

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg greets a crowd at Harvard on Nov. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Rose Lincoln, Harvard University)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — While most of the tech world is analyzing Facebook’s impending IPO, a new effort at Harvard University is trying to find the next Facebook — and keep it in Cambridge. The Experiment Fund, an unusual partnership between the university and venture capital firm N.E.A., will make seed investments in student-led startups across software, energy and health care. The aim is to support the best young talent while contributing to the growing early-stage funding ecosystem in Boston.
In life sciences news, the FDA this week cleared three drugs developed in part by Boston-area biotechs: a treatment for cystic fibrosis from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a once-weekly diabetes injection from Alkermes and its San Diego partner Amylin Pharmaceuticals and a skin cancer drug developed by Curis and Roche unit Genentech.
Finally, iRobot announced it has backed inTouch Health to the tune of $6 million, in a move aimed at breaking into the health care market. InTouch makes robotic devices that allow physicians to care for patients from afar. 

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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: How Green Was My Startup

By   |   Friday, January 13, 2012
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Jan. 13, 2012

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Medicine could be the latest field to join the natural ingredients craze, thanks to a new startup in Cambridge. Warp Drive Bio came out of the woodwork this week with $125 million in new funding. The company hopes to examine the genetic makeup of plants, animals and other organisms to find hot new drugs. Warp is backed by Boston firm Third Rock Ventures, Greylock Partners and French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi. The startup has an elite roster of founders, including Harvard genomics expert George Church.

In mobile innovation news, Mitt Romney is using software from Cambridge-based Jumptap to create targeted mobile campaign ads. And Boston-based Apperian has been selected to power AT&T’s new mobile app management system.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts regained the number-two spot in venture funding and deals last quarter, behind California and ahead of New York, according to a report from CB Insights. Nationally, 2011 saw the most venture dollars and deals of any year in the past decade.
And on a sad note, Jerome Rubin, a cofounder of Massachusetts-based E Ink, which makes the display for the Amazon Kindle, passed away this week. He was 86.

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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

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