Personal Health Advances

WSJ has a collection of articles on health, focusing on “10 major medical advances, including milestones in cancer, obesity and heart monitoring, that we’re likely to see in 2004.” The list:

– A Better View of Your Heart
– A Global Battle Against Obesity
– Better Blood-Pressure Checks
– Over-The-Counter Emergency Contraception
– A New Clot Buster
– A Statin Backlash
– New Weapons Against Cancer
– Cancer Prediction
– Insurance-Paid Weight Loss
– An End to Low-Carb Confusion

It also summarises the biggest breakthroughs of 2003:

1. Cancer Drugs: Two new cancer drugs — Iressa for lung cancer and Velcade for multiple myeloma — win speedy FDA approval, marking a new agency push to get promising drugs to patients faster.

2. Keeping Arteries Open: A new drug-coated stent props open arteries and is far less likely to reclog than regular stents, changing the long-term prospects for hundreds of thousands of heart patients.

3. Food Labels: FDA announces it will require food labels to include the amount of unhealthy trans-fatty acids a food contains.

4. Medicare Drug Coverage: Congress passes first federal prescription-drug benefit, to take effect starting in 2006, with an interim drug discount card launching in 2004.

5. Beyond Cholesterol: American Heart Association recommends C-reactive protein testing for some patients — a test that measures inflammation and helps detect heart disease in patients with normal cholesterol.

6. HIV Drug: Fuzeon, the first of a new class of drugs that block the HIV virus from entering human immune cells, wins FDA approval, but its $20,000 annual cost puts it out of reach for many patients.

7. Antitobacco Treaty: The World Health Organization adopts a landmark antitobacco treaty that escalates individual governments’ battles with the cigarette industry to a global level.

8 Mad-Cow Discovery: Federal officials report the discovery of the first U.S. case of mad-cow disease— a development expected to finally spur more testing and stricter feeding guidelines.

9. Ephedra Ban: FDA announces plans to ban ephedra, a controversial weight-loss supplement, marking the first time the agency has prohibited a dietary supplement

10. Alzheimer’s Drug: Namenda, know generically as memantine, the first treatment found effective for late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, is approved by the FDA


A new beautfully designed blog by Seed Capital Partners, The Weekly Read, has an interview with | George Kassabgi, BEA VP (from May 2003). Among other things, George talks about Intraneurship (entrepreneurship within an existing organisation):

1. The intrapreneur lives by his or her optimism. The innovator is like the explorer. Ernest Shackleton in his diary listed the 5 top qualities of explorers and the number one quality was optimism, above endurance, above courage, above patience. Optimism.

2. It is a myth that the intrapreneur and the team ought to think and act like a start up. To be successful, you must leverage all the significant assets of the larger company and a start up does not think that way. You must align the initiative with the personality of the established company and a start up never has that limitation. You must be humble and build collaborative bridges with the other resources within a large company, reusing as many existing “channels” as possible.

3. Give yourself time to do something big. It has to be relatively big or it is not worth doing. Nobody is going to pay attention to a $10 million dollar business within a $4 billion company. Engage with customers and create a road map that ends up being something big and ends up spanning the time necessary to accomplish that. I think the intrapreneur is trying to do something much larger than the entrepreneur and has a longer time horizon. The entrepreneur can do something smaller scale and still be labeled a success and the time horizon can be quite short. And I dont think that was necessarily only the case in the so called boom years. The entrepreneur can do anything and can change that thing ten times. In fact the entrepreneurs success depends on it.

As Indian companies grow and globalise, they would do well to encourage intrapreneurship.