Trending News Today: Clinical Trials With Children Go Unpublished

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

In a pre-trial hearing, Judge John Bates of the US District Court for the District of Columbia stated he is unlikely to reach a decision by the end of the year regarding the proposed insurance mergers between Aetna Inc and Humana Inc, and Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp, according to The New York Times. Lawsuits were filed in July to attempt to block the multibillion dollar mergers, stating that it would reduce competition, stifle innovation, and raise prices for consumers. This week, Aetna and Humana urged Judge Bates to hold trials and issue an opinion by the end of 2016. “Unless the schedule is put off, I’m sending one of the cases back,” Bates said in the report. He declined to say which case he would send for reassignment, according to the Times.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it may lift its ban on funding research that injects human cells into animal embryos, reported The New York Times. Although researchers have long been putting human cells into animals, it is different than stem cells, because stem cells are put into developing embryos where they can develop into cells. The purpose of this proposal is to grow human tissues or organs in animals to better understand diseases in humans, and lead to the development of new therapies to treat them. The plan is expected to go into effect in the fall after a 30-day comment period that is currently open to researchers and the public.

An analysis published in Pediatrics found that medical studies involving children never end up being put to use because scientists frequently don’t publish their findings, reported NPR. Prior studies have shown that about one-third of all clinical trials in the United States end up as a largely wasted effort, because scientists don’t put in the effort to publish and share their results with the scientific community. In the current study, findings showed that 19% of studies with children between 2008 and 2010 did not run to completion. This was mostly because researchers were unable to recruit enough volunteers, the report noted.