5 things to know in life sciences: Week of Oct. 3

This week we look at how doctors are using virtual reality to help children manage their fear while in the hospital. We also highlight a new cloud analytics tool for wearables, drug pipeline planning and new research into the virus that causes monkeypox. Finally, we track the path from fossilized DNA to a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Each week we highlight five things affecting the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.

Saritasa Technology Solutions and Before Inc. have teamed up to create a VR program that kids can use before a surgery to get familiar with the operating room, tools and equipment. The hope is that time spent in the environment and getting to virtually touch and play with the equipment will help alleviate a child’s stress and anxiety before undergoing a surgical procedure.

A new platform, called Device Connect for Fitbit, leverages Google Cloud to gather and monitor patient data. The challenge with wearable devices has been integrating the technologies into the existing health care system. By leveraging the integrated system, it will accelerate the time to actionable insights and allow physicians to monitor patients, and assist with care before and after surgery.

Planning and prioritizing development pipeline is a fraught exercise. Get it right and you are laying the groundwork for a company’s eventual commercial success. Get it wrong and you will burn scarce capital on candidates that, even if companies make it through the clinical phase, may not lead to commercial success. Evaluate Pharma lays out five guidelines to keep in mind when going through pipeline planning.

With monkeypox continuing to infect people in the United States and around the globe, researchers and public health officials are tracking its genome and mutations. Since it is a DNA-based virus, it mutates less than an RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus—like the virus that causes COVID. However, scientists are discovering mutations in patients and are working hard to understand what that will mean as the world continues to fight the outbreak.

A Swedish researcher’s work studying the genomes of ancient humans and their relatives has shed surprising light on the history of humans and what makes us unique. To make these discoveries, he had to push what was possible in genetic analysis, including extracting DNA from fossilized bones, sequencing genomes of ancient humans and recovering DNA from caves where humans and their relatives once lived.

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