FRI AM News: Exact Sciences highlighting study results for new test; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Ben Camp, CEO and co-founder of RehabPath

— Exact Sciences is highlighting new study results demonstrating the Oncotype DX test’s ability to identify breast cancer patients who can benefit more from certain treatments. 

The Madison diagnostics company added the Oncotype DX test to its portfolio when it acquired Genomics Health in a $2.8 billion acquisition deal that’s expected to close by year’s end. The Oncotype DX portfolio includes tests for breast, colon and prostate cancer, which rely on genetic analysis of tumors to guide treatment. 

A release shows the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score has previously been shown to predict the likelihood that chemotherapy will help patients with breast cancer, as well as determining the chances of recurrence. Those findings came from the TAILORx study, touted as the largest clinical trial for breast cancer treatment in history. 

According to Joseph Sparano, who headed the study effort, results have been “incorporated in major clinical practice guidelines and (are) used to guide patient care around the world.” 

Based on numbers in the U.S. National Cancer Database from over 4,700 women age 40 or younger, the Oncotype DX “Recurrence Score” results were consistent with previous findings. Higher score results were associated with worse survival rates over a five-year period. 

Exact Sciences is also highlighting program numbers from the National Cancer Institute, showing the Recurrence Score results corresponded to breast cancer mortality. In a study of more than 2,500 patients, young patients with lower recurrence scores had breast cancer-specific mortality of less than 2 percent, demonstrating the test’s ability to predict patient outcomes. 

According to the company, the Oncotype DX test can identify patients who can be treated with hormone treatments alone, reducing the need for chemotherapy, which can have serious side effects. 

See more: 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Ben Camp, CEO and co-founder of RehabPath, a Madison-based startup that helps people find treatment options by aggregating online information and providing other resources. 

“We have a global reach; one of our premier websites is actually in India, so it’s one of the top places for people in India to find addiction treatment,” he said. “We have some websites covering lots of other markets internationally.” 

Camp told the platform will soon be launching in the United Kingdom, and he plans to launch in the United States after raising more capital. The company recently announced a $200,000 investment from fellow Madison entrepreneur Shree Kalluri, who leads a startup called Zerology. 

Company leaders recently launched a crowdfunding investment round, and Camp explains on the podcast how this effort differs from Kickstarter campaigns. 

“You’re not just kind of supporting us and getting a perk or something, you’re actually getting equity in the company,” he said. 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See a full list of podcasts, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— Gov. Tony Evers says he wants Foxconn to amend its contract with the state not because he is seeking to reduce the state’s subsidy for workers the company hires, but because he believes the deal should reflect what’s actually going to happen at the plant.

“I think it’s important to have the contract reflect what they’re doing, not what they’re not doing,” Evers told in a year-end interview.

Evers also hinted that he’s planning to seek reelection in 2022.

Foxconn originally planned a Gen 10.5 plant in southeastern Wisconsin as part of an incentive package it signed with the state that could provide it close to $3 billion in tax credits. But it has since scaled back plans to a Gen 6 facility, which would produce smaller LCD screens; the company has at times discussed other possible options for the plant.

The Evers administration has urged the company to amend its contract, saying the current plans aren’t eligible for the credits outlined in the deal. In a letter last month, Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s director of U.S. strategic initiatives, accused the Evers administration of impeding the company’s efforts and suggested the company is “evaluating all available options to the WEDC Contract.”

See more from the interview at 

— The state’s unemployment rate was unchanged in November at 3.3 percent, according to the latest federal estimates released by the state Department of Workforce Development.

The release shows the state lost 6,900 manufacturing jobs over the year, but DWD Chief Economist Dennis Winters says the feds are underestimating manufacturing employment in Wisconsin.

The monthly unemployment figures come from the Current Employment Statistics, which are preliminary and routinely benchmarked to figures from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. The QCEW numbers pull employment data from 96 percent of the state’s workforce and are much more accurate.

When QCEW numbers for the second quarter of this year came out, they showed that CES estimates for manufacturing employment were inaccurate for certain states including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. While the CES figures had been showing a significant decline, the QCEW numbers revealed steady job gains in manufacturing through June.

Winters expects state manufacturing jobs for the third quarter to be higher in the next QCEW report than what’s been reflected in the CES. That report will likely be released in March, he said.

“If those numbers come through as expected, we will see better gains across the board,” Winters said.

When the CES gets benchmarked against the QCEW in the spring, Winters expects the CES manufacturing numbers to be higher as well — “maybe on the order of 5,000 jobs or more.”

Winters said the overall numbers for November look “pretty positive,” with nearly 10,000 private-sector jobs added over the year.

He noted the state’s construction sector continues to grow and is “just getting close to even” with pre-recession numbers. And more information technology jobs are driving growth in a variety of sectors.

See the release:

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan was the only Wisconsin lawmaker to vote against the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement as the trade deal cleared the House with broad bipartisan support.

The deal, which would fulfill one of President Trump’s signature campaign promises, passed 385-41. Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, was among the 38 Dems who voted against it yesterday. Two conservative Republicans and Independent U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan also opposed the trade pact.

Pocan in a statement acknowledged the deal was “a definite improvement from NAFTA” and praised Dems, unions and progressive advocates for haggling with the Trump administration to improve aspects of the deal. He credited the negotiations for “improving labor standards, removing the big, sloppy kiss to Big Pharma and strengthening enforcement mechanisms.”

But the Town of Vermont Dem added he was not confident it would address “core (NAFTA) flaws that led to the outsourcing of hundreds of thousands of American jobs.”

“Unfortunately, I cannot be confident that this trade deal would heal the wounds inflicted by NAFTA, including rampant outsourcing of American jobs, the closing of factories and manufacturing facilities across the country, and decades of harm to working and middle-class communities,” he said.

But the delegation’s GOP contingent, who voted alongside Dem U.S. Reps. Ron Kind and Gwen Moore, lauded the deal as a win for Wisconsin.

“Throughout my first year in office, I have pushed for USMCA to be brought to the floor,” said U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, in a statement. “I am proud to support Wisconsin’s agriculture and manufacturing industries.”

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce President and CEO Kurt Bauer says the trade deal’s passage “signals a major win for Wisconsin manufacturers, farmers and other employers.” 

In a statement, he notes one in four manufacturing firms in the state exports goods to Mexico and Canada, and trade with these countries support 44,000 jobs in Wisconsin. 

See the roll call:

— Professional nurses working for the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority have announced the formation of a new union and are demanding recognition from the UWHCA board of directors. 

“Our movement is essentially an uprising by UW nurses facing unacceptable changes to staffing levels and nurse/patient ratios,” said Chuck Linsenmeyer, a nurse at the UW Hospital who has nearly 30 years of industry experience. 

The union represents a majority of UWHCA nurses, according to a release. The previous union disbanded in 2014 when its contract expired after changes were made to collective bargaining rights in 2011 under then-Gov. Scott Walker. 

The nurses are being represented by SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin. They recently sent a letter to the board presenting demands and priorities, related to staffing, available beds and “protected advocacy” for nurses. 

“There is a widespread sense among nurses in our hospital system of being unsupported by the hospital administration to provide that kind of nursing care that our patients expect and deserve,” Linsenmeyer said. 

See the release: 

— The latest results in an ongoing clinical trial from Cellectar Biosciences show the company’s cancer therapy is yielding positive results in participants. 

According to James Caruso, president and CEO of Cellectar Biosciences, the results suggest the therapy could help patients who’ve gone through extensive prior treatments. 

The current phase of the ongoing CLOVER-1 trial is being held at 10 cancer centers around the country. Summary information from the latest cohort of 20 study participants shows a 30 percent overall response rate and a 75 percent “clinical benefit” benefit. Plus, participants are surviving more than four months on average without disease progression, and the drug shows “an acceptable and expected safety profile.” 

Of the 20 patients evaluated in this latest phase, 10 had advanced forms of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the body’s plasma cells. The other 10 had advanced B-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. The patients with multiple myeloma had a median of six prior systemic therapies, while the lymphoma patients had a median of four prior treatments for their cancer. Eight patients had previously undergone stem cell therapy. 

Cellectar’s cancer treatment is known as a phospholipid drug conjugate, or PDC, and delivers radiation treatments precisely to cancer cells and cancer stem cells. The company has offices in New Jersey and Madison. 

See more: 


# Menomonee Falls plans TIF incentives for Milwaukee Tool project

# Kaul, DNR host listening session on PFAS contamination in Marinette

# Assembly leader says medical marijuana will pass someday

# UW Hospital nurses revive union, ask board to recognize it



– State milk production falls, while national output rises

– Wisconsin leaders co-sign biofuel letter to Trump


– Wisconsin Center District names design team for convention center expansion project

– Milwaukee-area builders among teams pursuing $300M Wisconsin Center project


– Wisconsin lost 1,200 private sector jobs in November


– Wisconsin lawmakers sign off on 2% pay increases for state workers, reject $15 minimum wage

– Student questions calorie counting in Oregon Middle School health class


– Task force begins work to combat climate change

– DNR: High levels of PFAS in foam from Starkweather Creek


– 9 area companies nominated for WMC Manufacturer of the Year


– Bader Philanthropies gifts $1M to Milwaukee Habitat to kick-start 250-home project

– Zilber Family Foundation awards $3.5 million in grants


– State cheese makers praise newly proposed dairy bills

– Baldwin secures funding for dairy initiative, mental health programs

– Evers throws a meeting, Republicans don’t show up


– Brookfield tried for Milwaukee Tool’s expansion, didn’t have the land

– Report: Wisconsin property taxes could see largest increase in a decade


– Bars, restaurants seek viable alternatives for plastic straws


– Barnes & Noble in Greenfield will close; Ascension Wisconsin micro-hospital to move in


– Visit Milwaukee promotes Milwaukee neighborhoods to DNC guests


– Frozen road law takes effect in northern Wisconsin


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce: Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award nominees announced

Gov. Tony Evers: Milwaukee Tool expanding Wisconsin footprint