CBC: Breast density results must be shared with patients, say advocates

See original CBC article here The Nova Scotia government is touting new hospital software it says can better predict breast cancer risk, but the province is not routinely sharing the results with patients or their family doctors. In October, software designed by Nova Scotia company Densitas was installed in hospitals throughout the province to automatically record breast density during mammograms. The idea is to use the technology instead of relying on a radiologist’s eyes because, like cancer, dense breast tissue appears white in mammograms, making it difficult for radiologists to see. A woman with dense breasts also has more dense tissue than fatty, and that means her chances of getting cancer are higher. But unless a woman specifically asks her doctor to request the breast density recordings from the radiologists, the results are filed away. Cheryl Stewart-Walsh said women deserve to know that information, along with the potential health risks of having dense breasts. The Dartmouth, N.S., woman said she still wonders about her examination four years ago. She had noticed some lumps and was told she had dense breasts, but her mammogram came back clear.

Knowledge is power

“If somebody had said to me back then, ‘You have dense breast tissue and it means that you need to be more vigilant because you have a higher risk of breast cancer,’ I would have been doing more regular exams,” she said. This spring, the 39-year-old noticed a lump in the same spot doctors had first examined. Within weeks, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has since undergone a lumpectomy, 18 weeks of chemotherapy and 21 rounds of radiation. She just completed cancer treatment last month. Paula Gordon, a Vancouver-based radiologist with the national advocacy group Dense Breasts Canada, said women deserve to know their breast-density information so they can be more vigilant with self-exams.

Cancer risks

“Knowing your breast density is like knowing that you have high blood pressure or that you have high cholesterol,” Gordon said. “Can you imagine a family doctor taking somebody’s blood pressure and finding it high, and not sharing that information with the patient?” Approximately 43 per cent of women aged 40 to 74 have dense breast tissue, according to Gordon’s group, which means more than 100,000 women in Nova Scotia could be affected. Some women with dense breasts have four to six times the risk of getting breast cancer compared with women who don’t have dense breasts, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Dr Paula Gordon

Dr. Paula Gordon says women across Canada are being left in the dark.

The province says it eventually wants to provide its new software-generated breast-density information automatically to doctors and patients. However, there is currently no “mechanism” or timeline to do so, according to Dr. Sian Iles, a radiologist and medical adviser for the Nova Scotia breast screening program, which is run by Nova Scotia’s Department of Health. “We have got plans but we haven’t been able to implement that yet,” Iles said. “It’s a very complex health-care system. We’re not in charge of all the variables.” Years have been spent standardizing the reporting of breast density, Iles said, and every mammogram in Nova Scotia now leads to an automated breast density report. Each province has different rules around testing and reporting breast density. Quebec requires that a woman’s breast density information be reported, but only to her doctor. Other provinces, like Ontario and P.E.I., usually require that the information be passed on to a woman’s doctor, and that the patient be informed if her density is over 75 per cent, which is considered extreme.

New software automatically records breast density on a woman’s mammogram. (Patrick Callaghan/CBC)

Until recently, Nova Scotia was the only province that did not require radiologists to record breast density, according to Dense Breasts Canada. Gordon, the medical adviser with Dense Breasts Canada, said 50 per cent of breast cancers in women with dense breasts are missed on mammograms. “We see these patients in the clinic,” said Gordon. “They come with a lump in their breast that they have found, sometimes within weeks or months of a negative screening mammogram. “The lump in their breast … turns out to be not just a cancer, but sometimes a sizable cancer.”  ]]>

ENTREVESTOR: BlueLight inks deal with 3M across North America

See original ENTREVESTOR article here BlueLight Analytics Inc., a Halifax company that helps ensure the proper curing of dental fillings, has partnered with industrial giant 3M Corp. to greatly expand the startup’s sales power in the U.S. The two companies announced the partnership on Wednesday. Under the terms of the deal, 3M salespeople will offer BlueLight’s flagship product checkMARC, which helps to ensure dentists use their curing light for just the right length of time when curing resin-based fillings. “This partnership gives us a national presence in the U.S., which is the biggest market for us,” BlueLight chief executive J.P. Furey said in a phone interview from Dallas, where he’s been training 3M sales teams. “It’s definitely a huge milestone for the company and we think it’s the first of many as we expand globally.” Growing out of research at Dalhousie University, BlueLight began about seven years ago to solve a problem few dentists spoke about. The lights they use to cure resin vary greatly, and each model has to be used for just the right amount of time to cure the resin properly. Too long a time could adversely affect the tooth and too little would leave the resin only partially cured. BlueLight developed the checkMARC system, which can test and identify the efficacy of a dental office’s curing lights. Based on the results, 3M will review the light-curing protocols currently in practice. The Minnesota-based company said it can then work with the dental clinic to identify evidence-based opportunities to improve clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. BlueLight said that before its technology was commercialized, there was a “quality gap” in the market for dental fillings — a multi-billion-dollar market that is the cornerstone of every dental clinic. Almost two years ago, BlueLight announced a partnership with the Canadian division of 3M to jointly market checkMARC across Canada, and that led to a broader relationship. “The last announcement was Canadian-centric,” said Furey, an accountant who became the company’s CEO in the autumn of 2015. “Since then a lot has happened and it has led to pilots in the U.S. and now this deal, which covers the whole U.S. It’s five to 10 times bigger than the Canadian market.” He added that he and three other BlueLight representatives are in the U.S. this week, training 3M sales representatives in checkMARC. The salespeople are expected to begin offering the service to clients as early as this week. The relationship with 3M is already expanding beyond North America. The Halifax company has been working with 3M in Australia, New Zealand and Germany. “As the market leader for restorative dentistry, 3M is dedicated to providing dental professionals the latest technologies and innovations in dentistry to improve practice productivity,” the Minnesota company said in a statement. BlueLight has partnerships with a few large companies. Also in 2015, it announced a partnership with Henry Schein, the Melville, New York-based medical product distributor whose 2014 sales exceeded US$10 billion.  ]]>

BioVectra and Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Enter Agreement for Ferric Citrate Production Expansion

About Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, is focused on the development and commercialization of innovative medicines that provide unique and meaningful advantages to people with kidney disease. The Keryx team consists of approximately 200 committed people working with passion to advance the care of people with this complex disease. This dedication has resulted in two FDA-approved indications for Keryx’s first medicine, Auryxia® (ferric citrate) tablets. For more information about Keryx, please visit www.keryx.com. About BioVectra BioVectra is a CDMO that serves pharmaceutical and biotech companies with full-service cGMP outsourcing solutions for intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients. An innovative and reliable service partner with a strong regulatory history, BioVectra has over 45 years of experience specializing in:  GMP Microbial Fermentation & Purification  Complex Chemistry  Process & Analytical Development For more information about BioVectra, please visit www.biovectra.com. Media Contact Jordan MacGregor Marketing and Communications Manager jmacgregor@biovectra.com 902-566-9116 ext. 6376 www.biovectra.com]]>