Aetna seeks to improve breast cancer diagnosis

Aetna (Hartford, Connecticut) is implementing a comprehensive plan to increase the quality of genetic diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The company is guiding members and physicians to laboratories that meet national guidelines for genetic testing accuracy. Aetna also is funding research to understand the use of genetic tests in breast cancer treatment.

About 20% of people with breast cancer have tumor types with increased levels of the HER2 protein. Accurately interpreting test results for this tumor marker or protein is vital to determining the right treatment.

People with tumors that are HER2-positive benefit from trastuzumab therapy. Those with HER2-negative tumors, however, are less likely to benefit from the drug. Poorly interpreted tests can expose people to the side effects of a drug they may not need or miss an opportunity to treat breast cancer with effective medications.

Greatbatch to transition facilities

Greatbatch (Clarence, New York) reported a plan to optimize its operating footprint in several locations. This plan includes the transition of the company's Blaine, Minnesota, facility to its 98,000-square-foot facility in Plymouth, Minnesota. This will involve the transfer of R&D and manufacturing for catheter and micro-components to the Plymouth facility, where the company's leads and introducer operations are currently located.

The transfer of employees, products and processes at these locations is anticipated to be completed by the end of 3Q09. "Centralizing our engineering, procurement, regulatory and operations for these product lines in the Minneapolis area will allow us to provide superior customer service, quality and operational excellence," said Mauricio Arellano, senior VP-cardiac and neurology.

CDC: New diabetes cases rise over 10 years

The rate of new cases of diagnosed diabetes rose by more than 90% among adults over the last 10 years, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; Atlanta).

The data, published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, show that in the past decade, the incidence (new cases) of diagnosed diabetes has increased from 4.8 per 1,000 people during 1995-1997 to 9.1 per 1,000 in 2005-2007 in 33 states.

"This dramatic increase in the number of people with diabetes highlights the increasing burden of diabetes across the country," said lead author Karen Kirtland, PhD, a data analyst with CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation. "This study demonstrates that we must continue to promote effective diabetes prevention efforts that include lifestyle interventions for people at risk for diabetes. Changes such as weight loss combined with moderate physical activity are important steps that individuals can take to reduce their risk for developing diabetes."