Antidote: new cancer detection test

Johnson & Johnson has received a lot of criticism lately because of the McNeil recalls of cold medicines, especially those for children. Factories must follow protocols which include sterility and proper oversights.  
At the same time, J&J is getting a badly needed pick-me-up from its Veridex division. They are bringing to market a new cancer detection test that was developed at Massachusetts General Hospital and is now being studied there and at three other major cancer centers around the country.                                                                                      
The test utilizes a microchip that resembles a lab slide. It is covered with 78,000 tiny prongs, coated with antibodies that bind to tumor cells. The chip is slid into the bloodstream where more than a billion normal cells bounce off it for every cancer cell that sticks. Then it's examined for its genetic make-up.
The amazing finding here is that cancer cells circulate in the blood even when the actual tumor is to be found in a discrete location such as the breast, colon, kidney or skin. The test has enormous potential for assessing and modifying cancer treatment, and has already been studied in this regard with trials appearing in major journals.                 
The potential of the test may even go beyond treatment and onto early detection, since we are making cancer cells long before a tumor actually develops.                                                         
It is part of the range and success of a large company like J&J that at the same time that it is receiving a repeated black eye for McNeil, and also receiving accolades for Veridex. If only the news media reported both these stories accurately and evenly.
Marc Siegel, MD, is an internist and professor of medicine at New York University and the author of False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Features

Email Newsletters


As US pharma continued its quest for a Grand Prix at the Lions Health international festival of creativity, MM&M went on location to Cannes, France. Missed our coverage from June? Now, we're giving you an opportunity to catch up on some of what you missed. Download our e-book on the two-day festival, recapping the event, rounding up the best of the speakers, offering perspective and listing all of the winners. Click here to download.


The most recent MM&M Skill Sets Live event surveyed a range of issues relating to one of the hottest promotional spaces in healthcare. Speakers and panelists at the morning-long session, including promotional- and multichannel-minded executives from GSK, Epocrates, Treato and Montefiore Medical Center, weighed in on topics designed to help marketers demystify the challenges associated with non-personal promotion. Click here.