Trending News Today: Eli Lilly to Cut Thousands of Positions

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

The dental probe dentists use to check for periodontal disease could be a thing of the past, according to STAT News. In a recent study, investigators used a non-invasive method to measure pocket depth via high-resolution photoacoustic ultrasound. The ultrasound uses a laser that delivers short bursts of light to create acoustical pressure waves. After a simple swish of squid ink—–which contains melanin nanoparticles that absorb light––the laser heats up the ink in the mouth, causing it to swell and create pressure differences in gum pockets that are easily detected by the ultrasound. Although the study was conducted on pig jaws, human clinical trials are now being planned.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals temporarily suspended studies of its gene-silencing drug fitusarin after a patient with hemophilia died due to a blood clot. According to STAT News, the safety setback is bad timing for the company, as it is expecting to soon receive and announce results from its phase 3 trial for the drug patisiran in a rare nerve condition. The Massachusetts-based company are developers of drugs based on RNA interface, reported STAT.

Eli Lilly & Co plans to cut roughly 8% of its global workforce, according to The Wall Street Journal. In an announcement on Thursday, the drug maker said it would eliminate approximately 3500 positions worldwide, 2000 of which are in the United States. Eli Lilly cited several issues affecting the company, including the need to lower costs and raise investment in new drugs before patents expire and decrease sales of older products, the WSJ reported. These issues are not unique to Eli Lilly, as many drug makers are faced with similar challenges.