A Medical Device Daily

The National Institutes of Health will hold a symposium concerning the use of stem cell technologies for use in cardiovascular regenerative medicine Monday and Tuesday at the NIH Natcher Conference Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

The NIH said that the sessions will cover lessons learned from hematopoiesis, specification and use of embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells, including those derived from bone marrow (hematopoietic, endothelial progenitor cells, and mesenchymal stem cells) and adult cardiac stem cells that naturally reside in the heart; growth factors to stimulate formation of new blood vessels (vascular regeneration) and to repair or regenerate cardiac tissue (cardiac regeneration); and technologies for monitoring cell activity. The goal of the symposium, it said, is to stimulate discussion about tissue specification in stem cell biology and cardiovascular development, and to identify areas of opportunity for applying regenerative therapies to cardiovascular disease.

It said that the presentations will be made by “prominent researchers and clinical cardiovascular experts from the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK. Topics will include discussion of emerging science, animal models, and clinical applications of stem cell therapies for cardiovascular disease.

Health IT Now! calls for HIT action

The Health IT Now! Coalition (Washington), co-chaired by former Sen. John Breaux and former Rep. Nancy Johnson, has again called on Congress to pass health information technology (HIT) legislation this session.

Breaux said, “Americans have waited too long for the benefits of health IT— benefits that we could have right now if only Congress would act.”

The coalition commended the House Science and Technology Committee for discussing the HIT issue at a hearing this week. But among the action it is requesting, it is seeking specific requirements — and rather lengthy — requirements of that legislation. Among these:

Permanence in statute for a federal responsibility to lead a public-private process to establish standards for system interoperability, product certification, and quality measures and an accelerated process for standards improvement;

Federal financial incentives for practitioners to facilitate the adoption of health IT, and for communities, states, and other entities to plan HIT components and develop Health Information Exchanges;

Federal focus on consumer empowerment, using patient education tools to encourage patient use of electronic health records and provider quality information; and

Federal leadership of a federal/state process to resolve policy issues, like privacy and professional licensure, central to a secure and safe care system

“These principles should serve as guidance for any health IT legislation Congress considers,” said Dr. Richard LoCicero, president of Health IT Now! Coalition. “While we are pleased that the Science and Technology Committee is considering legislation that includes health IT, we hope that the House of Representatives will incorporate our principles into the health IT legislation they consider.”

Health IT NOW! Coalition says that its membership includes patient groups, providers and employers.