Search This Blog

Friday, 27 January 2017

Deadline mid-February for 2017 Hippocrates Open and Health Professional Awards for Poetry and Medicine

With 3 weeks to go to the midnight 14th February deadline, there have already been entries from 21 countries and 5 continents, from Australia and New Zealand to throughout the USA, for the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, which has an awards fund of £5,500 (~USD 7,500).

Click here to find out more about the Hippocrates Prize and to enter online.

In addition to the Awards Symposium at Harvard Medical School on Saturday 6th May, from 6.30pm Friday 5th May there will be a session at the Boston Museum of Fine Art (MFA) on "Poetry and Training the Eye" involving objects and paintings inspired by health and illness, followed by a Reception at the MFA, followed by the opportunity to stay on at the MFA to enjoy the collections.

The judges for the 2017 International Open and Health Professional Awards are Neal Baer, Harvard-trained American paediatrician and Emma-award winning ER producer, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Jorie Graham; Scottish Makar (national poet) Jackie Kay; and Professor Owen Lewis, New York, USA.  The 2017 Hippocrates Young Poets Judge will be judged by poet Maya Catherine Popa, New York City, USA (see details about the judges).

In the UK, clinical pharmacologist and prize co-founder Donald Singer said: “We are delighted to have such a distinguished panel of poets and health professionals as judges for the 2017 Hippocrates Prize.”

Harvard physician and poet Rafael Campo added: “ The Arts and Humanities Initiative of Harvard Medical School is very pleased to be supporting this major international prize, and to be hosting the awards ceremony, which will for the first time be presented in the USA.”

The 2017 Hippocrates Awards are being organised in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Initiative of Harvard Medical School. The Awards will announced by the judges at a ceremony at the close of the 8th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine, to be held at Harvard Medical School on Saturday 6th May 2017.

Now in its 8th year, the Hippocrates Prize has attracted over 8000 entries from around the world, from the Americas to Fiji and Finland to Australasia. All awards are for a single unpublished poem in English of up to 50 lines of verse on a medical theme.

The International Open category is open to anyone in the world to enter. There have been entries from over 60 countries since the Hippocrates Prize was launched in 2009, with winning poets from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the UK and the USA.

The International Health Professional category is open to any in the world who is a Health Professional  employees, a health student or working in a professional organisation or charity involved in education and training of health professional students and staff or in supporting the care of patients.

The international Young Poet category: anyone in the world may enter who is aged under 19 years and at least 14 years old on the date of the Awards (6th May 2017). This £500 (~690 USD) award was launched in 2012. The 2017 Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for Poetry and Medicine is supported by the healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust.

Notes for editors
For more on the Hippocrates Prize and the 2017 judges, contact +44 7494 450 805 or email

The 2017 Hippocrates Prize is supported by:
UK philanthropist Anthony Fretwell-Downing.
The Arts and Humanities Initiative of Harvard Medical School.
The Healthy Heart Charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust, founded in 1996, which promotes research and education for the prevention and treatment of disorders of the heart and circulation.

More on the Judges for the 2017 Hippocrates Prize

Thursday, 26 January 2017

New drugs to lower cholesterol: PCSK9 inhibitors

Results from new studies on cardiovascular prevention are due to be presented in mid-March at the 2017 American College of Cardiology Congress in Washington DC – findings from very large studies to test the effects of powerful new drugs to lower cholesterol.

Patients with high blood levels of LDL cholesterol are at higher risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious vascular disorders. 

Healthy lifestyle lowers LDL cholesterol. The benefit for cholesterol lowering and the associated reduction in serious cardiovascular diseases is greater the more approaches to a healthy are followed, including Mediterranean-type diet, avoiding tobacco products, regular exercise and moderation in alcohol. 

Statins are the most effective current treatment available for patients for lowering LDL cholesterol. However not all patients respond to statins and some patients are unable tolerate statins because of troubling or serious adverse effects.;year=2016;volume=32;issue=4;spage=440;epage=445;aulast=Trentman
PCSK9 inhibitors (PSK9i) are a new class of powerful drugs that can cause a major fall in high LDL cholesterol levels: by up to 60% when combined with a statin.  

The key questions to be addressed in these studies are whether this "surrogate" end-point of reduced LDL cholesterol translates into clinical benefits for patients – and if so whether the benefits outway risks both to health and in terms of cost-effectiveness,  compared to existing treatments.
These biological drugs are given to patients as a treatment by injection because they are designed as monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), proteins which would be inactivated in the gut is swallowed. MAbs use the principle of the body's own immune recognition proteins, which are able to recognise and limit damage from foreign proteins such as are found in viruses or cancers.

There are usually receptors on liver cells that transport LDL into the liver for it to be broken down, thus keeping the circulating level of LDL cholesterol on check. PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9) is a protein in the liver that inactivates these LDL-scavenging liver cell receptors.  
The fewer of these receptors that are present in the liver, the more LDL ("bad") cholesterol persists in the blood to contribute to the development of disease of the arteries.  
Thus PCSK9 inhibitors, by inactivating the PCSK9 protein, allow more receptors to be available to capture LDL for removal from the blood.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

ADAPTSMART: Accelerated Development of Appropriate Patient Therapies

ADAPT SMART is a  platform funded by the European Union's IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative) for the coordination of Medicines Adaptive Pathways to Patients (MAPPs) activities, involving multi-stakeholder approaches from research through to treatment outcomes. MAPPs seek to foster access to beneficial treatments for the right patient groups at the earliest appropriate time in the product life-span in a sustainable fashiion.

The European Medicines Agency has just hosted (17th - 18th  January 2017) at Canary Wharf in London an expert workshop on ADAPTSMART, with delegates from throughout the European Region, from the Japanese medicines agency and elsewhere.

Topics included:
- appropriate use of medicines
- timely access to innovative medicines and other interventions
- early access medicine schemes
- protected therapeutic schemes e.g. cancer access funds
- compassionate use
- expanded access pathways
- shortened timelines for approvals
- need for cross-border data-sharing and research
- international comparisons for consequences of inappropriate prescribing - non-compliance with treatment guidelines
- linkeing reimbursement to compliance with prescribing guidelines

See more on the ADAPTSMART website about key work packages and other aspects.