Week of Aug. 30 - Sept. 3, 2010

The basics of chemotherapy
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Dr. Ned Sharpless is associate director for translational research at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He explains the basics of chemotherapy and how the Chapel Hill-based company he founded is trying to make this toxic treatment more tolerable. Questions and answers have been edited.
WakeMed will curtail prisoners' care
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
WakeMed will stop providing non-emergency care for the state's inmates on Oct. 1, citing the rising cost and hassle of treating those patients. ...UNC Hospitals has a contract with the Department of Correction and officials are in discussions about expanding that to other UNC-owned facilities, said UNC spokeswoman Karen McCall. "We're also talking about innovative ways to delivering care, including telemedicine," she said.

Don't rush the baby, group advises
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
A group of North Carolina hospitals thinks patience is a virtue when it comes to giving birth. Today, the Perinatal Quality Collaborative of North Carolina is wrapping up its "39 Weeks Project," a yearlong effort to decrease the number of babies delivered before 39 weeks of gestation unless it is medically necessary. ..."The goal of PQCNC is to make North Carolina the best state to be born in," said Dr. Martin McCaffery of UNC Hospitals. He is the group's director.
AIDS Cure Quest to Kill `Sleeping' Viruses Enlists Merck Cancer Medicine

Bloomberg News
The 30-year-long search for a cure for AIDS, the world’s deadliest viral infection, may get a renewed boost from an unlikely source: a little-used Merck & Co. cancer drug. Researchers at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill plan to test Merck’s drug, Zolinza, next year in about 20 people infected with HIV, the AIDS virus. The goal is to determine if Zolinza, or a medicine like it, can force HIV out of cells where it can reside, concealed from attack by potent antiviral treatments, said David Margolis, a professor of medicine who’s leading the research.

Blue Cross expands services
The Herald-Sun (Durham)
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has expanded its on-site claims services to UNC Physicians & Associates in an effort to cut administrative and medical costs. The "On-site Service Model" program, which places claims and customer service representatives in hospitals to work directly with billings departments on site, launched in May 2009 at WakeMed and then later last year at UNC Hospitals. UNC P&A, a faculty practice for the UNC Health Care System, will be the first physician practice group in the state to implement the program with Blue Cross.

Quick and correct actions saved Chapel Hill man
Fortunately, they were next to a fire station where firefighters used an Automatic External Defibrillator combined with CPR to revive his heart and keep oxygen flowing to the brain. “He was resuscitated and defibrillated multiple times at the fire station, multiple times in the emergency department, multiple times in the cardiac cath lab,” UNC cardiologist Dr. Jason Katz said.

Robot removes tumors at UNC
On Aug. 9, Gabrielle Gutierrez, 15, of Jacksonville, was a patient in a new type of surgery at UNC Hospitals...UNC otolaryngology surgeons Dr. Adam Zanation and Dr. Carlton Zdanski used the DaVinci Robot to remove the tumor in her neck.

David Margolis' Fight to End AIDS
As life goals go, David M. Margolis' is modest enough: He just wants to cure AIDS. The University of North Carolina professor has been plotting the demise of the world's deadliest infectious disease for more than a decade. Now he's planning a fresh assault with an unlikely weapon: a rarely used Merck (MRK) cancer drug.

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