Gregory Way’s picture

By: Gregory Way

Drugs don’t always behave exactly as expected. While researchers may develop a drug to perform one specific function that may be tailored to work for a specific genetic profile, sometimes the drug might perform several other functions outside of its intended purpose.

This concept of drugs having multiple functions, called polypharmacology, may lead to unintended consequences. This is a common occurrence for cancer drugs in clinical trials that can have harmful side effects and treatment toxicity.

But polypharmacology may, in fact, be the norm for most drugs, not the exception. So rather than seeing a drug’s ability to perform many functions as a flaw, biomedical data scientists like me and my lab colleagues believe that it can be used to our advantage in designing drugs that address the full complexity of biology.

Huw Thomas’s picture

By: Huw Thomas

In what has been called the “biggest moment for workers’ rights in a quarter of a century,” the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a safe and healthy work environment as one of its five fundamental principles and rights at work for all at its June 2022 international conference. This is the first extension of workers’ human rights in almost 25 years, and it means governments must now commit to respecting and promoting the right to a safe and healthy working environment.

Adam Zewe’s picture

By: Adam Zewe

Physicians often query a patient’s electronic health record for information that helps them make treatment decisions, but the cumbersome nature of these records hampers the process. Research has shown that even when a doctor has been trained to use an electronic health record (EHR), finding an answer to just one question can take, on average, more than eight minutes.

The more time physicians must spend navigating an oftentimes clunky EHR interface, the less time they have to interact with patients and provide treatment.

Researchers have begun developing machine-learning (ML) models that can streamline the process by automatically finding information physicians need in an EHR. However, training effective models requires huge datasets of relevant medical questions, which are often hard to come by due to privacy restrictions. Existing models struggle to generate authentic questions—those that would be asked by a human doctor—and are often unable to successfully find correct answers.

Karina Montoya’s picture

By: Karina Montoya

Close to 9 million people in India suffer from hepatitis C. If left untreated, the virus leads to cirrhosis or liver damage, which eventually causes death from organ failure or cancer. On average, a 50-year-old man in India with asymptomatic liver damage who doesn’t receive treatment is expected to live a little more than a decade longer.

Until recently, the typical treatment for chronic hepatitis C in India was a 24-week course of peginterferon injections combined with pills to combat side effects. The treatment’s efficacy was relatively low: It cured 40 percent to 80 percent of patients. There was a need for more effective treatments, not just in India but also for the 58 million people worldwide with chronic hepatitis C.

About a decade ago, Gilead Sciences developed Sovaldi and other drugs, which are antiviral pills that can cure most cases of hepatitis C. The California-based pharmaceutical company planned to expand access to the new medications in India through a combination of branded and generic versions.

Alixandra Barasch’s picture

By: Alixandra Barasch

If you’ve ever played Wordle, learned a new language on Duolingo, or worked out with Peloton, you may be familiar with daily app notifications that nudge you to keep at it—or risk breaking a streak of consecutive efforts. Do you or don’t you heed the clarion call?

If you do, you’re in good company. Consumers, our latest research shows, are more likely to continue doing something when their recent repetition of that behavior is logged and highlighted to them—as many apps are programmed to do these days. Conversely, when consumers are made aware of the fact that their streak is broken, they’re less likely to keep up the behavior.

In fact, we discovered that consumers go to great lengths to maintain these “streaks” because they deem it to be a meaningful goal in and of itself, independent of what they hope to achieve: keeping fit, learning a new language, etc.

Our findings suggest ways for businesses to better leverage technology to keep customers coming back, as well as for consumers to motivate themselves to pursue desirable goals. Organizations could also improve efforts to increase employee engagement and motivation.

NIST’s picture


ou need to measure length accurately to do things like make a dress, build a house, survey a plot of land, or determine if the home team made a first down on the football field. These length measurements and many others are often made with the help of a measuring tape. The major companies that produce the tape measures we use in everyday life rely on waves of light as the ultimate ruler to ensure their tapes are accurate.

Some manufacturers use highly accurate reference tape measures to print their familiar hash marks on the tape. Some are printed using computer-controlled ink printers with tiny print heads to ensure the markings are laid down accurately.

A hash mark on a tape measure as seen through a microscope. Credit: NIST

Tom Rish’s picture

By: Tom Rish

Your design history file (DHF) is one of the most critical components of your QMS. That’s because the DHF should contain all the product development documentation for a specific medical device. Its purpose is to show regulatory bodies and internal stakeholders that you appropriately followed the design control process during product development. It’s also proof that your medical device was developed according to the design plan.

FDA inspectors are guaranteed to look through it during an inspection, and even a single missing signature can get you written up.

With so much riding on it, you need a plan in place to store and manage all of the documentation that goes into your DHF. It may feel like an overwhelming task to keep your design history file audit-ready at all times, but there are a few basic steps you can take to keep it organized and ready for inspection at any time.

Donald J. Wheeler’s picture

By: Donald J. Wheeler

The analysis of residuals is commonly recommended when fitting a regression equation to a data set. It has even been recommended for the analysis of experimental data where the independent variable is categorical (i.e., treatment levels). In both of these contexts, it has been said that the residuals should be “normally distributed.” This column shall look at this idea and make suggestions about what does and does not make sense.

Patricia Santos-Serrao’s picture

By: Patricia Santos-Serrao

The pharmaceutical industry has seen significant upheaval and disruption during the past several years. These changes are due in part to the impacts of Covid—for example, interruptions in the supply chain and overwhelming market demand for shortened production times.

They are also being driven by extensive shifts in emergent digital technologies, a need for deep predictive data insights, and a cultural demand for personal and system connectivity. Add to this list a shifting regulatory environment with an increased focus on personal responsibility for auditing and risk management. New opportunities and responsibilities can seem overwhelming.

However, the bright side of assuming personal responsibility is the self-determination it allows. Businesses that make innovative changes amidst upheavals and downturns actually gain momentum and outperform competitors upon recovery. What sets apart thriving pharma businesses is their willingness to spot the market shifts as they begin to crest, pivot to align with them, and then swim through deep waters to ultimately catch and ride the wave. Their adaptive autonomy allows them to absorb disruptions and modify in company-specific ways to move through them. 

ISO’s picture


Standards are not for just the minority of businesses with thousands of employees. According to the World Bank, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) make up more than 90 percent of all companies and account for up to 70 percent of total employment. In developing countries, small businesses are key to economic growth and job creation. Inclusive GDP growth is particularly influenced by female-led companies.

MSMEs stand to benefit hugely by aligning with International Standards, which help cut costs, bolster credibility and confidence, and compete with larger businesses in the international market.

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