Ted Talk Statistics

I found this Ted Talk Statistics Ted Talk to be very entertaining….Enjoy

~TJK

 

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New Proposed Auditing Course: Considerations for an eData Quality Audit Program

We’ve submitted this course proposal for the April SQA Quality College in Anaheim. Feedback has been good, but even if it isn’t picked up for this venue…it will eventually happen *somewhere*:

Instructors: Timothy J. Kuhn and Conrad Kawaguchi

Target Audience: Seasoned Auditors with little eData/CSV experience or CSV professionals with little auditing experience.

 Course Objectives

• Establish and differentiate between the eData Audit Function and the Operational CSV Quality Roles.

• List the considerations for the GxP eData Audit Program (Contributing to other GxP Audits, Independent Focused Data Integrity Audits, etc.)

• Explore the various roles that the eData Auditor may serve as part of an audit (SME, Co-Auditor, Audit Lead)

• Define and list the desired skill set for the eData Audit Team

• Break down the various types of audits and risk areas for each: GLP Labs, Central Clinical Labs, Central Readers (eCG, Imaging, etc.), ePRO (Electronic Patient Reported Outcomes – AKA Diaries), Acquisition Due Diligence, GMP Manufacturing Sites and Vendors, PV, eSystem Validation, Databases, IT Infrastructure, Cloud Providers, Software Providers, SaaS vendors, Pharma, Device, Combo Product, and others.

Course Description: Electronic Data (eData) is pervasive in the GxP world and auditors in that GxP eData space need to understand what is most important in these areas. This course will explore considerations in establishing an eData audit program, give auditors with little Technology/eData/Computer System Validation(CSV)/IT saavy the understanding needed to assess the eData/eSystems they encounter in the course of their existing GxP audits, and expand the understanding of eData auditors beyond the software vendor audit so as to know what is most important in GxP audits. The course will demonstrate “what to look for” for a variety of audits, both technology-focused and more conventional areas in which technology has “encroached”.

 

~TJK

Desperate Quest For Herpes Cure Launched ‘Rogue’ Trial – By Marisa Taylor October 19, 2017


Desperate Quest For Herpes Cure Launched ‘Rogue’ Trial

As 20 Americans and Brits flew to a Caribbean island for a controversial herpes vaccine trial, many of them knew there were risks.

The lead U.S. researcher, William Halford, openly acknowledged he was flouting Food and Drug Administration regulations in the consent forms they signed. He would be injecting them with a live, though weakened, herpes virus without U.S. safety oversight.

Still, many of them felt upbeat when they arrived on St. Kitts and Nevis in the spring of 2016. They had struggled for years with debilitating, painful herpes. Halford, the creator of the vaccine, sounded confident.

Maybe they could be cured.

“It felt like paradise,” one of the participants recalled. “Or therapy combined with vacation.”

A year later, their optimism has turned to uncertainty. Memories of kicking back in a Caribbean hotel during the trial have been overshadowed by the dread of side effects and renewed outbreaks.

But they can’t turn to Halford, a Southern Illinois University professor. He died of cancer in June.

They also can’t rely on his university, which shares in the vaccine’s patent but says it was unaware of the trial until after it was over. Because the FDA didn’t monitor the research, it can’t provide guidance. Indeed, there is little independent information about what was in the vaccine or even where it was manufactured, since Halford created it himself.

At a time when the Trump administration is pushing to speed drug development, the saga of the St. Kitts trial underscores the troubling risks of ambitious researchers making their own rules without conventional oversight.

“This is exactly the problem with the way the trial was conducted,” said Jonathan Zenilman, an expert on sexually transmitted diseases at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. “These people are supposed to have rights as human subjects, but now there’s nowhere for them to go. We may never know if this vaccine worked, didn’t work or, even worse, harmed anyone.”

Rational Vaccines, the U.S. company co-founded by Halford, still hopes to market the vaccine. It touted success online and to other researchers, prompting millions of dollars of recent investment, including from a company run by President Donald Trump backer Peter Thiel.

Thiel, a PayPal co-founder who has excoriated the FDA as too bureaucratic, declined to answer questions about his investment, which occurred after the trial had ended.

Kaiser Health News interviewed five of the 20 participants in the clinical trial and several associates of Halford.

The participants agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because they don’t want to be known as having herpes. Most also said they feared retaliation from Halford’s company but hoped by speaking out some of their concerns might be addressed.

Their accounts, along with documents, a video and emails obtained by KHN from the offshore trial, pointed to what experts said were serious irregularities:

Halford did not rely on an institutional review board, or an “IRB,” which monitors the safety of research trials.
The company has said it doesn’t know where Halford manufactured the vaccine, so it isn’t known whether he followed U.S. government guidelines when transporting it.
Halford offered booster shots of the unapproved vaccine inside the U.S. FDA regulations prohibit such injections.

“The FDA goes after these types of violations,” said Holly Fernandez Lynch, a lawyer and assistant professor who specializes in medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “[Researchers] can be prosecuted.”

SIU, however, did little to discourage Halford. The university, which has a financial interest in the patent, said it learned of “the concerns” only after his death. In August, after KHN asked about the trial, the medical school’s IRB launched an investigation into whether Halford violated U.S. regulations or university rules.

In a statement to KHN, Rational Vaccines acknowledged that Halford “discussed a myriad of concerns … including the potential need for booster shots.”

“Unfortunately, Dr. Halford is no longer with us to address all the ways in which he may have investigated his concerns …,” stated the company. It added, “We nevertheless wholeheartedly intend to continue his line of investigation in a clinical setting to international good clinical practice standards.”

Racing Against Time

Halford first broke with scientific protocols in 2011, shortly after he was diagnosed with nasal cancer and treated with chemotherapy and radiation, according to an account he later posted on his blog.

By then, Halford was in his 40s and had worked almost a decade at SIU’s School of Medicine.

Halford, who did not have herpes, realized his cancer might not give him much time. If he submitted to the FDA’s oversight, it would take years, he reasoned in his account.

He decided to become his own research subject, injecting himself more than two dozen times with the vaccine.

“There is an ongoing herpes pandemic that demands the scientific community’s attention today, not tomorrow,” he wrote in his blog, which by his count received thousands of hits.

The experiments on himself, Halford believed, demonstrated the vaccine was safe.

In 2015, Halford set his sights on launching an offshore clinical trial.

However, his unorthodox approach made some of his peers recoil.

“He sat in my kitchen and tried to convince me to join him,” said Terri Warren, a nurse practitioner in Oregon who was approached by Halford in 2016 to help with the trial. “He believed so firmly in his vaccine. He said, ‘Think of all of the herpes patients who are suffering.’”

Warren had previously worked with Halford on a different, IRB-approved trial studying a new blood test to diagnose herpes. This time, she said, she became concerned about his methods, including how he was selecting his participants.

“I told him absolutely not,” she recalled. “I didn’t want anything to do with it. I felt bad for him because he was dying, but I thought he had lost perspective.”

But Halford did find backers, including Hollywood filmmaker Agustín Fernández III, whose credits include action films and an award-winning documentary.

Fernández recently declined to respond to questions. But in an earlier interview this year with KHN, he said he initially contacted Halford to try to help someone he knew who was battling the disease. He said he didn’t have herpes, or a background in science.

Fernández, however, became such a believer in Halford, he said, he allowed Halford to inject him with the vaccine. In 2015, he co-founded Rational Vaccines with Halford and invested his own money into the company. That same year, the company licensed two patents related to the vaccine from the university.

“I felt like Bill had the answer, and we had to make sure he got a chance to prove it,” Fernández said.

‘Finally … Someone Who Cared’

As soon as news began spreading in the tight-knit herpes online community that Halford may have a cure, he began hearing from the most desperate who asked to be included in any future research.

For many, herpes is a mild disease that can be controlled by antiviral medicines. However, for some, it becomes a life-altering disease that destroys any hope of intimate relationships.

To several of the participants, Halford was an empathetic scientist who refused to give up on finding a cure.

“After dealing with doctors who had no answers, it felt like you were finally talking to someone who cared and could help,” said a participant in his 30s from the South who had described the trial as “paradise.”

There were other perks as well.

Rational Vaccines told some participants they would be reimbursed for their flight and hotel expenses. If they got through the entire trial, they would be given an extra $500.

As Halford organized two groups of 10 participants, he instructed them on drawing their own blood for the trial, according to a video filmed in a medical lab.

He proceeded with the trial from April to August 2016, giving participants three shots over three months.

Once in St. Kitts, many of them quickly bonded with one another and Halford. Even though they ranged in age from their 20s to 40s and came from different regions, they had the disease in common. They commiserated about how herpes had wreaked havoc on their lives.

“It was a relief to meet people who understood what we were talking about,” the Southerner said.

But other participants now say they noticed some troubling signs.

They received the injection in a house in St. Kitts, not a medical clinic.

Halford, whose gaunt frame made his cancer apparent by then, at times appeared disoriented.

Fernández, a constant presence, was introduced to them by name and made some of them uncomfortable when they socialized over drinks and dinner.

Some patients became anxious about their participation soon after receiving the vaccine.

One, a web developer in his 20s, felt ill after receiving just one dose.

“I experienced tiredness and ringing in my ears,” said the web developer, who reported the feelings along with “disequilibrium and slurred speech” continue to this day.

He said he decided not to return to St. Kitts for follow-up shots after Halford dismissed his symptoms as arising from a common cold.

Another participant, a Colorado woman in her 40s, said she told Halford she experienced flu-like aches and pains and tingling and numbness soon after the second shot. The symptoms were followed by an “excruciating” 30-day outbreak of herpes.

“I have new symptoms every day,” that woman later wrote Halford in an email exchange provided to KHN. “This is terrifying.”

Halford initially dismissed her symptoms, speculating they were caused by a mosquito-borne virus, she said.

She returned for the third shot but had her doubts. Halford and Fernández met her at a café to talk about her concerns, she recalled.

“[Fernández] kept saying, ‘You signed the consent form. You knew the risks,’” said the Colorado woman, who said Halford then removed her from the trial.

Another participant, a Californian in his 30s, said he went through with all three shots despite feeling a “terrible pain in my stomach.”

Halford then told him he had noticed in his research of mice that another version of the virus entered the gut of the mice and killed them, the participant said.

“I then thought maybe this is dangerous,” said the Californian, whose pain went away but his outbreaks did not.

Warren, the nurse practitioner in Oregon, said two participants tracked her down as a herpes expert. She said that they described possible side effects from the vaccine.

Halford had told participants he would follow up on their reactions to the vaccine for a year, according to the consent form. But he stopped sending questionnaires to the two participants who said they had been dropped from the trial.

Warren said that even when researchers stop administering a vaccine because of possible side effects, known as adverse events, they have a duty to track the subjects’ reactions.

“There is no doubt that these were adverse events that should have been reported,” Warren said.

Rational Vaccines did not respond to questions about the complaints. In previous public statements, it acknowledged that one of the 20 participants was concerned about possible side effects.

Some participants also wonder where Halford made the vaccine and how he transported it to St. Kitts.

Halford told his business partner he had made it outside of the United States, without disclosing where.

After the trial ended, some participants began complaining that the vaccine hadn’t worked. Halford and Fernández offered booster shots, according to four participants.

One participant, a man in his 40s who was also from California, declined to get the booster. He said he decided to go back to antiviral drugs when his outbreaks returned.

The Southerner said he agreed to allow Halford to give him booster shots at an office in Springfield, Ill., where Halford worked.

“It was between me and him,” said the participant. “He was doing me a favor.”

“I don’t know if it was a different strain or what, but he gave me a set of double boosters at the same time, one in each leg,” recalled the Southerner, who said he didn’t have records of the injections. He said he received them as Halford continued to collect data for the trial.

Months later, he said, he returned a second time for another set of boosters.

Courting Support Without Results

Halford, meanwhile, tried to persuade a U.S. scientific journal to publish a lengthy manuscript detailing the results of both his experiments on himself and his offshore trial. Halford put the cover letter on SIU letterhead.

In December 2016, only months after the trial had ended, Halford’s paper was rejected by the journal.

“This manuscript is partly a vision, partly science, and partly wishful thinking …,” said one reviewer for the journal. “Neither safety nor efficacy has been demonstrated by the data presented.”

Halford asked his former doctoral adviser, Daniel Carr, to attend a Rational Vaccines advisory board meeting. Carr, a University of Oklahoma Health Services Center professor, said he and other invitees heard glowing reports about the trial.

Carr agreed in May to present the trial data at a conference of herpes experts in Colorado.

A published summary of the event listed Carr as a lead author, though he said he wasn’t involved in the research.

“I just did it to help him out,” said Carr, who asked for his university’s permission to be on Rational Vaccines’ advisory board and is waiting for word on federal funding to study another version of Halford’s vaccine. “I also presented it because I thought that the scientific community would find it interesting.”

Despite its patent agreement reached in 2015, SIU said it was in the dark about Halford’s offshore activities until October 2016 — months after the trial had ended.

Halford, meanwhile, promoted his work at events attended by university officials.

In October 2016, Halford was a keynote speaker at an SIU-sponsored technology and innovation event to discuss his vaccine work.

Then, in April 2017, Halford and Rational Vaccines held a press conference to trumpet an investment pledge by Thiel’s company, according to materials handed out at the event. University officials, including SIU’s medical school dean, were invited speakers.

The university’s IRB is continuing its investigation, which includes scrutinizing whether Halford used university resources.

“If there are areas of concern, SIU will report those findings promptly to Department of Health and Human Services,” said SIU spokeswoman Karen Carlson. “We will also communicate our findings with the scientific community and the public.”

FDA spokeswoman Lauren Smith Dyer declined to comment on the trial except to say the FDA does not have jurisdiction over offshore trials that don’t seek agency approval.

Dyer, however, added that the export from the United States of an unapproved vaccine for research use and the injection of it on U.S. soil would be within the agency’s jurisdiction.

Even so, some participants don’t regret taking part in the trial.

“When you feel like a disease has ruined your life, you become desperate,” said the Southerner, who believes the boosters have lessened his outbreaks. “Some people contemplate suicide. You’re willing to do almost anything.”

Other participants still hope for some sort of accountability.

“I feel like without a doubt that my symptoms were vaccine-related,” said the Colorado woman. “I feel like it triggered something that I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

No matter what, experts said, the university has a responsibility to conduct an in-depth investigation. So far, the university has not reached out to participants who spoke to KHN.

“This researcher went rogue,” said Fernandez Lynch, the lawyer who specializes in medical ethics. “It’s true that universities can’t stand behind their researchers watching their every move. But when one of their own goes rogue, a university should launch an aggressive investigation, interview the participants and make sure it never happens again.”

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

That’s where I’d go to cry…

A few months ago, I underwent surprise heart surgery to repair my mitral valve (it was leaking in a major way). I have the explanation that I give to people that ask about it down pat. I vainly make sure they know it wasn’t a heart attack, that I don’t have clogged arteries, that it was a genetic defect, that in all other ways I’m completely healthy, that it wasn’t my fault. I am not shy about it when they ask.

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And ask they do. “How are you feeling?” “What happened?” “Do you have any restrictions?”  And comment. “We really missed you”. “It is so good to have you back”. “My husband had something very similar; feel free to call him if you have any questions”. (I never did). “You look great”. “I’m so impressed at how quickly you’re recovering”. “You do a 5k every day? That’s great!” “Wow, I didn’t expect to see you back at the boxing gym so soon”.  “You’re coaching soccer again! That’s great!” “How are you feeling?” The support and good sentiments have been overwhelming. People at work, people on facebook, neighbors, friends, family. They all let me know how much they care and I really appreciate all of it. But that’s not what I wanted to share just now.

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My wife, Susan, has been a rock during all of this. She really kept it all together: watched over me while I was in the hospital, kept the kids grounded, waited for me during during my diagnostic and repair surgeries, and took care of me when I got home. And while having surgery (and particularly cardiac surgery) is a scarey thing, I think it is much worse for the significant others than for the actual patient. This was brought home to me when during a post surgery checkup at the hospital, I noted a bank of windows along a corridor that I hadn’t noticed before and commented on them to Sue (who had driven me and accompanied me to the appointment). She looked sadly at me and told me, “Yeah, that’s where I’d go to cry”. I looked at her, a little bit startled.

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She had to see me with heart monitors, oxygen masks, eKG leads, tubes, tubes, and more tubes all coming out of me. She had to watch them prep me for procedures. She had to wait while I was in surgery. For. Six. Hours.  She had to go home and explain to preteen children what was going on without unduly scaring them. She had to keep it all together for them. She had to contemplate the prospect that she might be planning a funeral shortly. She had to spend time beating herself up with guilt over symptoms that neither of us noticed in the moment, but suddenly remembered in retrospect.  After I was home,  she had to help me into and out of the shower, get things for me,  drive me places, help me on the stairs, see me in my weakened state. She spent a lot of time blaming herself for something that wasn’t her fault.

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So she saved most of her crying for that lonely hospital corridor.

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Like me, she gets a lot of questions, but unlike me, the questions she gets usually aren’t about how she’s doing. They’re about me, about how I’m doing. “How’s Tim?” “I saw Tim’s picture on Facebook, he looks great!” “Is Tim doing ok?” “Is he back to work yet?” “We were so happy to hear about his recovery” “How’s Tim?”Don’t get me wrong, there were those who made sure she was ok. Joanne took care of the kids. Michelle took care of Sue and stayed with her during the surgery. And Tara made sure the family was fed. I can never thank them enough. The medical team at Saddleback Memorial were also great, both in their care of me and in their sensitivity to Sue. There were others who were looking out for her, but for the most part, it has been all about me.

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So, I offer up these thoughts and observations to thank my wife for going through it all for me (Love you, sweets!), to thank those who looked after her, and to highlight in a small way how much harder it can be for those who wait, for those who need a place to cry.
~TJK

Equifax Breach

Equifax says a giant cybersecurity breach compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans — almost half the country.

 

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/07/technology/business/equifax-data-breach/index.html

 

 

Flu Vaccine Study in Maryland

The NIH is looking for some volunteers.

Healthy Volunteers needed for an investigational flu vaccine study.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 310,000 people in the United States were hospitalized for flu-related illness during the 2015-2016 flu season.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center are testing investigational vaccines to determine if they are safe and effective at preventing influenza.

During the study you will:

Complete a health screening including medical history, physical exam and blood tests

Receive either 1 or 2 investigational flu vaccines

Have 8-10 outpatient visits that may last up to 40 weeks

Receive compensation for your participation 

You may be eligible if you:

Are healthy and between the ages of 18 and 70 (excludes those born from 1966 to 1969)

Have a BMI less than or equal to 40 (calculate your BMI at https://go.usa.gov/x5My6)

Do not have any medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease or psychiatric condition

Are not pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant

This study is being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center, America’s research hospital is located on the Metro red line (Medical Center stop) in Bethesda, Maryland.

For more information, call:
1- 866-444-1132
TTY: 1-866-411-1010
Se habla español
Online: https://go.usa.gov/xNH7U

Refer to study # NIH 17-I-0110

 

 

~TJK

NIH: Robotic Exoskeleton Could Be Right Step Forward for Kids with Cerebral Palsy

This is very cool!

#VeryCool

Robotic Exoskeleton Could Be Right Step Forward for Kids with Cerebral Palsy
09/05/2017 09:55 AM EDT
https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/…

More than 17 million people around the world are living with cerebral palsy, a movement disorder that occurs when motor areas of a child’s brain do not develop correctly or are damaged early in life. Many of those affected were born extremely prematurely and suffered brain hemorrhages shortly after birth. One of the condition’s most […]
Robotic Exoskeleton Could Be Right Step Forward for Kids with Cerebral Palsy
09/05/2017 09:55 AM EDT

More than 17 million people around the world are living with cerebral palsy, a movement disorder that occurs when motor areas of a child’s brain do not develop correctly or are damaged early in life. Many of those affected were born extremely prematurely and suffered brain hemorrhages shortly after birth. One of the condition’s most […]

More than 17 million people around the world are living with cerebral palsy, a movement disorder that occurs when motor areas of a child’s brain do not…
DIRECTORSBLOG.NIH.GOV