Thanks. I had two stock PRs today that never showed from my watch list. I never even knew it until I checked my account.Yahoo has always been my first check and go to for relevant news in the morning. I'm going to have to re-think and re-list my picks else where if it continues. I'm not a day trader...but some mornings knowing all news makes me money buying or selling. I don't think today is the first day yahoo has missed news on stocks I follow.
in your yahoo watch list? In the past they were as good as any source about posting each company's news releases on my stock list. Lately I've noticed they have missed several of my stock's PRs.
Yes another real nice win. Global monitoring of intermodals is going to be huge for those early movers like Orbcomm.
For some reason this news didn't show on my yahoo watch list. Seems lately it's a trend. Anybody else noticing yahoo missing PRs?
Tuyp said he paid about $1,200 for the dermascope he has been using for about six years. Since the government has refused to reimburse doctors for buying and using the device during examinations, they can’t recapture their costs nor can they charge patients for it.
“So if there’s no fee code for dermascopy, do you think there will ever be one for the Aura? Probably when pigs fly is what I would say to that,” Tuyp said.
“So while it’s fascinating technology that makes you say ‘wow’ there are some big issues to overcome here. One is that we need more studies to demonstrate that it will pick up more cancers without more false positives and the other is the tariff issue,” said Tuyp.
While Braun talks about Aura being placed in the hands of family doctors and nurses, McLean said he’s reserving judgment on that for now and that all he can promise is that “in the hands of a skilled dermatologist, Aura will add significant value.”
Sam Abraham, BCCA vice-president, strategic relationships, said his office helps scientists patent and commercialize their inventions. He hopes Verisante sponsors a post-market, cost-benefit study showing not only device effectiveness but also the cost benefits of diagnosing cancers earlier.
“That’s how you drive these things into the marketplace,” said Abraham whose office licenses six to 12 inventions per year.
“Our goal at the BCCA is research and care. Our scientists come up with innovations and then ask the entrepreneurial community to take it from there.”
It’s certainly promising technology. However, we have a responsibility to the taxpayer to provide cost-effective and high quality care. The Ministry of Health has a health technology review process to review non-drug health technologies to determine if any device is appropriate for coverage in B.C.
If Verisante can make the case that the device will result in better care for patients and provide better value than current methods, Lake said “it would be something we would seriously consider.”
The four Aura inventors got about $1.5 million in public and private donor-funding over the past 15 years. Braun said when Verisante (a publicly traded company) licensed the rights a few years ago, it gave the BCCA, VGH and UBC milestone payments. That included tens of thousands upon licensing, another $100,000 at the time of Health Canada approval and about $500,000 more in research grants. The medical institutions and inventors will eventually get royalties of about six per cent on each device sale, Braun said.
Evert Tuyp, a Coquitlam dermatologist and head of the B.C. Medical Association section on dermatology, said he understands Braun’s frustration at the slow adoption of technology, but he’s not yet convinced that Aura will perform better than a dermascope, a tool he uses as an adjunct to his naked eyes.
The dermascope (also called dermatoscope) is a simple magnification device that uses polarized light to see into lesions. It is far from perfect and is said to miss about 15 per cent of cancers.
On top of that, a study in a dermatology journal a few years ago showed disagreement among pathologists in about 15 per cent of biopsy samples so Tuyp agrees a perfect system of detection does not yet exist.
Braun has asked the B.C. Medical Services Commission to allow doctors to bill for examinations with Aura. But that is not likely to happen soon since no government is keen on adding to the ballooning health care budget.
Lycka received a per-patient fee from Verisante during the testing phase (Rivers did not) and now he charges patients $75 to $325 (the latter for whole body skin cancer screening) when he uses the Aura. “Nobody has balked at paying that.
“In an ideal world, everything would be covered by the medicare system but instead we have limitations, so patients are asked to pay for new technology,” Lycka said.
“I think this is a very do-able arrangement for clinics, including family practices, where there are several doctors who take an interest in skin cancer screening and are going to share the device and its costs.”
Braun says it’s possible patients won’t balk at paying for Aura scans themselves because “in dermatology, there is already a culture of paying out of pocket for things.”
The fact that Aura, engineered and assembled in Richmond, is a made-in-B.C. technology that is not yet widely available here frustrates Braun enormously.
“The truth is the public owns this technology because taxpayers funded the research but patients here aren’t getting the opportunity to take advantage of it yet.”
Braun said he has spoken to dozens of doctors about the fee issue.
“Cancer screening is medically necessary and so many physicians feel uncomfortable asking patients to pay for it. On the other hand, MRI scans are also medically necessary but patients pay for those (at private clinics, on an expedited basis) and you don’t hear too many complaints with that.”
Health minister Terry Lake said he has received a request from Verisante Technologies for a meeting about Aura.
“But that kind of money is usually found only in the patented drug industry,” he said.
Rivers has an eight-month waiting list for his medical (non-cosmetic) patients and given the shortage of dermatologists across the country, he concedes the device could help separate benign lesions from those that are true threats, “freeing up doctors like me to see the most serious cases.”
In the six months that Rivers used the device in his office on about 60 patients, he credits it with detecting one lesion as a melanoma that he had missed. But it did not find a few other melanomas that he detected. In the 2012 study, the device had cancer detection sensitivities of between 95 and 99 per cent — which means it was almost perfect.
Rivers says real-world experience with technology may not mirror what sorts of outcomes occur in research studies. But overall, he thinks the Aura is a nice addition to a dermatology practice.
Rivers has completed his testing on the Aura and is no longer using it on patients.
That means that until B.C. doctors buy the device, the only patients who may be examined with it are those who go to the Skin Care Centre at VGH where the latest model of the device has just been shipped.
In Edmonton, dermatologist Barry Lycka is enthusiastically embracing the technology. He has used it on 1,000 patients in the past year.
“It’s a very helpful non-invasive tool that has helped me detect five cases of melanoma,” he said.
“I see a lot of skin cancer patients (300 to 500 per year) and do 20 or 30 biopsies a day. Human beings are fallible; this device helps me determine who really needs a biopsy. You don’t want to be doing them unnecessarily because it can be painful for patients. There’s a wound after a biopsy that needs to heal.”
Rivers wonders how many doctors will pay $40,000 to buy the device and how many patients will pay for examinations when there is no taxpayer-funded medical system coverage for such examinations anywhere in Canada.
“Eventually, after we have some real world experience with the Aura, it may be that it is suitable for family doctors and nurse practitioners after they take a day or so of training on it.
“But right now, I see it as a device that adds value to a dermatology consultation. If a dermatologist thinks something is a cancer, then they should just biopsy it. Where there is a lesion that looks slightly abnormal but doesn’t ring alarm bells, the device can be used as a reinforcement of the decision to biopsy or not.
“Of course, I have a conflict of interest since I am a co-inventor, but I think it can be used to improve the diagnostic acumen of physicians. It could pick up more melanomas and reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies,” he said, referring to previous research that has shown that as many as 58 lesions are scraped or cut away for every one case of melanoma detected.
Verisante placed Aura prototypes with a handful of dermatologists across Canada over the past year to get their feedback and suggestions for changes to the final model. The Vancouver Sun interviewed two of them, for slightly contrasting perspectives.
In Vancouver, Dr. Jason Rivers, a skin cancer expert who does both cosmetic and medical dermatology, said he likes the way the device looks at the molecular signature of skin tumours.
“The technology is really interesting and shows a lot of promise but I think we still need to collect more information before it’s unleashed on a lot of physicians.”
He hopes someone will do a study that compares family doctors or dermatologists using Aura against those not using it and rate the accuracy of diagnoses.
McLean acknowledges the 2012 study doesn’t answer whether the Aura beats dermatologists in accuracy of skin cancer diagnostics. A study comparing Aura to conventional diagnostic methods in thousands of patients in different cities would be ideal “if one could find a granting agency willing to give millions of dollars for that.
Numerous studies have shown that doctors could really use another tool in their arsenal.
In the BC Cancer Agency study, led by co-inventors/Vancouver dermatologists Harvey Lui and David McLean, previous research is cited that shows the diagnostic accuracy of melanoma by eye is highly variable — from 49 per cent to 81 per cent.
McLean, whose research on expanded uses for Aura in detecting other cancers continues, said since doctors are far from perfect in detecting skin cancer, he and his co-researchers set out to find a better method of cancer screening.
“We started from the position, can we improve what we see with our naked eyes? What if we look at the molecules inside? We wanted to find something to improve diagnostic ability. Here we are, 15 years later, and our work is coming to fruition.”
McLean, who has retired from daily dermatology practise, but still teaches at UBC medical school and conducts research, said while dermatologists tend to believe they’re exceedingly good at what they do, “we are not as good as we think.”
“There would be very few physicians who have not had an experience in which melanoma has been missed. It’s a disconcerting event. It does occur and it’s never a happy event,” he said.
“I’m 66, and any specialist with similar experience that I know couldn’t say they have not missed a diagnosis. Nor would they say they couldn’t use more help,” said McLean, who is also president of the Cancer Prevention Institute of Canada and co-author of a new book, Community-Based Prevention: Reducing the Risk of Cancer & Chronic Disease.
While Braun’s goal is to sell at least 100 Auras (at about $40,000 each) in the next year, and convince health professionals around the world that they don’t have to be dermatologists to use it, McLean uses more restraint.
Diagnosis of skin cancer has typically been done by dermatologists doing a visual examination of a skin lesion’s shape, texture, colour, size and other properties. The Aura uses fibre optics and laser light to excite molecules inside the cells of the growths, allowing it to do a biochemical analysis.
The device uses Raman spectroscopy, technology which gets its name from an Indian physicist, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930, for his discoveries about the specific, fingerprint-like signatures of molecules that are seen when specialized beams of light are used to illuminate the skin.
Aura has been approved by Health Canada and European and Australian authorities. Verisante is hoping to gain pivotal U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in a year or two.
Research on Aura was done on patients at the Vancouver General Hospital Skin Care Centre — and published last year in the journal Cancer Research. While the study isn’t a direct comparison between Aura and conventional methods of assessing lesions, it does show that diagnostic outcomes are about the same between doctors using the device and those reported in previous studies when doctors used traditional means to distinguish between suspicious and benign growths.
In the VGH study, researchers tested an Aura prototype on 453 people with 518 lesions. Subjects were aged 18 to 94.
All 44 malignant melanomas, 200 basal cell carcinomas and about 50 squamous cell carcinomas were detected and confirmed by biopsy. The technology also detected several hundred benign lesions.
A “when in doubt, cut it out” philosophy is common in dermatology. Study authors said Aura could help reduce the number of biopsies by at least 50 per cent since it would be a better aid in helping doctors distinguish which skin growths are completely benign and which ones need to be biopsied for further examination.
B.C. has about 60 dermatologists and there are job postings for another 24 of the hard-to-fill jobs. There are large regions of the province without a single dermatologist and patients in many areas are waiting twice as long as they should to see skin specialists, according to advocacy organizations.
The aging of the population is expected to mean an increase in cancers. Skin cancers are already the most commonly diagnosed cancers, affecting about 100,000 Canadians annually. Of those skin cancers, melanoma is the most lethal, accounting for about 6,000 cases of skin cancer in Canada (1,000 in B.C.) and just over 1,000 deaths (150 in B.C.). Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common types of skin cancers but if they are not caught early, patients can suffer face or body disfiguration after lesions have been removed.
Aura can be a useful tool for detecting all types of skin cancers, according to the inventors, doctors who used it during clinical trials and the CEO of the company which is now going to mass-market the device.
The advantage of Aura is that it provides a near-instantaneous result, can be used to quickly scan bodies with dozens of lesions and is relatively easy to use.
“This is what you would call game-changing … technology because it detects things doctors don’t necessarily see with their naked eyes and it finds cancers at the earliest, most treatable stages,” said Thomas Braun, CEO of Verisante Technology.
A new study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, showed that the average direct costs of treating melanoma have almost tripled in the past decade, from $3,600 to $9,000, due to costly advances in treatment, including hospitalization, home care and drugs.
Interesting article...didn't know if you saw it? Both positives and negatives on aura.
"Shedding a light on skin cancer
B.C.-invented Aura is ready for prime time, but will medicare pay?
By Pamela Fayerman, Vancouver Sun December 13, 2013"
"A device invented at the BC Cancer Agency offers a non-invasive, painless, instantaneous opinion on whether skin lesions are cancerous or not.
After 15 years of research and development, it’s finally being offered for sale to doctors and is being marketed as a solution to the dermatologist shortage around the world. But there is some debate about whether there’s enough evidence to warrant putting it in the hands of other doctors and health professionals.
And there are questions about when — or if — patients with worrisome lesions will benefit from the BCCA/University of BC-patented device, for Aura is an example of new technologies that are challenging provincial health budgets in Canada and raising issues about who should pay for cutting-edge technological solutions.
To use Aura, a doctor holds a laser light probe over a mole or other skin growth in question. Aura measures vibrations in molecules; cancerous lesions vibrate differently than those in benign tissue.
A North American shortage of dermatologists — caused, in part, by too few being trained and too many doctors opting to do more lucrative cosmetic work and less medical dermatology — is the rationale for putting the device in the hands of family doctors and nurses. It would give them high-tech help in determining which moles and other skin lesions (growths) should be cut out and examined (biopsied) by a pathologist.
Virtually all patients diagnosed with melanoma in the earliest stages can be cured but about 85 per cent of patients diagnosed in the late stages die within five years."
Here's a small micro cap that pays $.50/share dividend yearly over four payments...trading around $9/share. Plus...if management keeps clicking...the share price can fly over the coming years. A top 5 holding along with ITI for me.
What we don't know and ALR doesn't know is...who else is Chembio talking with about a partnership. I for one...sure don't want an exclusive deal with ALR. When ALR sold all of their Chembio shares...it was like ALR giving CEMI the finger...and hoping CEMI would fold as a stand alone company. Sure keep ALR as a partner...but surely not an exclusive partner. Branch out with multi partners to do away with that past risk.
What??? I've been long since the dictator took office and you know it.
Wasn't you the one that said Obama was an honest man? Still believe it?
So you're saying it's either...or? With the out....that ALR gave Chembio, I would think they have the option of still letting ALR sell their products, market their own products for much higher margins and also create partnerships with brand new players...all at the same time? If ALR completely drops CEMI...it's going to be a loss for them too.