THU AM News: Data tools improving disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment; Cellectar cancer therapy reducing tumor size in clinical trial

— New data tools being developed in Wisconsin and elsewhere aim to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. 

One of those tools was created under the direction of Elizabeth Burnside, a radiology professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. She spoke yesterday in Madison at the Wisconsin Biohealth Summit, organized each year by BioForward. 

Burnside and other speakers noted the number of available medical data is growing at an increasing pace, making it all but impossible for clinicians to keep up with the latest findings. 

“What I’ve dedicated my career to doing is developing artificial intelligence algorithms and techniques in order to manage this overwhelming amount of data,” Burnside said. 

One way to offset the mounting expectations placed on care providers is to automate portions of the tasks they perform. Karley Yoder, director of product management of AI analytics with GE Healthcare’s digital care division, described how software developed at the company is improving the process of taking ultrasounds. 

“This algorithm, embedded directly within the device, automates detection steps that people would have had to perform before,” she said. “Taking those 41 steps down to eight steps, improving your throughput by 80 percent, but more importantly, increasing accuracy by 40 percent.” 

She said this application helps clinicians focus more on the task of ensuring fetal and maternal health, rather than collecting information. 

“It’s going to take many examples like this, where we can drive better patient and provider outcomes, if we’re going to drive toward that vision of precision health,” Yoder (pictured here) said. 

See more: 

— Newly available numbers from Cellectar Biosciences’ ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial show the company’s cancer therapy is reducing the size of tumors in participating patients. 

The Phase 2 trial includes a cohort of study participants who all have tenacious forms of lymphoma, a cancer that starts in the body’s lymphatic system. 

A release shows the therapy was met with “durable responses” across the board, including a “complete response” rate in one patient. That means the patient experienced a reduction in tumor volume of more than 99 percent, and remained at that level for more than 500 days after receiving the therapy. 

The cohort overall had a 33 percent overall response rate to Cellectar’s therapy, and a 50 percent clinical benefit rate. All patients in the study received an average of three prior lines of systemic therapy. 

“The data presented show an encouraging overall response rate including a complete response at the time of the interim assessment,” said Cellectar CEO and President James Caruso. 

He says the company’s therapy “has the potential to provide a meaningful treatment option” for a variety of lymphoma patients. More results from the ongoing study are expected later this year. 

The ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial is being funded with a $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. 

The latest results come after the company was recently granted ‘orphan drug’ designation by the European Commission, which is reserved for medicines treating diseases that are both rare and life-threatening. 

Cellectar has operations in New Jersey and Wisconsin. 

See a recent story on Cellectar: 

— The Joint Finance Committee has unanimously approved releasing $45 million for the UW System over the next two years after Republicans proposed tweaking the allocation to reduce the state’s ongoing commitment to the university in future years. 

The debate over the money turned into a rehash of old beefs over how the university fared under the budgets approved by former Gov. Scott Walker. 

Dems knocked GOP stewardship of the university over the previous eight years, accusing Republicans of nickel-and-diming the system, stunting its growth with funding cuts even when the state has been flush with cash. 

Republicans countered by accusing Dems of exaggerating the impact of GOP moves such as the tuition freeze, pointing to top rankings for UW-Madison as well as a record class of enrollees at the system’s flagship campus. 

JFC also unanimously backed releasing $220,000 appropriated in the budget for a suicide prevention line after adding new reporting requirements and redirecting it through a different agency. 

As they have over multiple issues with the budget, committee members tussled over decisions by GOP members to require agencies to come back to seek the release of money that had already been allocated. 

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-West Point, said Republicans had unnecessarily delayed the release of the money at a time when the state is facing a suicide crisis. 

Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, pointed out the money will go toward expenses such as software and data collection and no services had been impacted as a result of the “committee’s due diligence.” 

See more at 

— Madison has been ranked eighth in the country on a list of the top U.S. metropolitan areas for going car-free. 

The list, compiled by an online publication called CityLab, also ranks metro areas for car-free friendliness by population size. For medium-sized metros — between 500,000 and 1 million people — Madison was ranked even higher — second in the country. 

San Francisco topped the list for large metros, followed by Boston and New York. Madison was the only Wisconsin city mentioned in the study, but Chicago’s metro area also spills over into southern Wisconsin. That sprawling metro area was ranked 23rd overall. 

The rankings were calculated based on several factors: the share of households with no vehicle, commuters who take transit to work, commuters who bike, and commuters who walk. Numbers come from the American Community Survey’s five-year estimates for 2017, which cover all 382 U.S. metro areas. 

See the full ranking: 

— Foxconn and the University of Illinois have announced a new $100 million smart technology research partnership, according to a report from Illinois Public Media. 

The partnership will be called the Center for Networked Intelligent Components and Environments, or C-NICE It will be located at the university’s Urbana-Champaign campus, the report shows. 

See more in Foxconn Reports below. 

— The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has announced 25 finalists for the annual Marketplace Governor’s Awards.

Winners will be announced Oct. 24 at the Marketplace 2019 breakfast, which is a conference for minority, women- and veteran-owned businesses pursuing contracts with state, federal and local agencies as well as corporations.

According to a release, more than 150 nominations were received.

See more at Madison Startups: 


# UWM-incubated startup SafeLi LLC awarded $1 million federal commercialization grant

# Chr. Hansen plans $25M expansion of North American HQ in West Allis

# Wisconsin Case Against Purdue Pharma Will Continue, Attorney General Says

# Chocolate Shoppe owner vows fight after new Atwood building owner locks store out



– U.S. Ag Secretary Perdue discusses issues at Dairy Expo


– City of Milwaukee awarded $5.6 million lead abatement grant

– Study: Apprenticeships more common in Minnesota than Wisconsin

– City to pursue other options if Couture doesn’t move ahead by June


– UW-Madison Dairy Science Dept. to hold visitor day


– Wipfli acquires Atlanta firm, establishing foothold in southeastern U.S.


– Tandem owner asks for industry support after breaking ankle


– Foxconn and U of I partner on $100 million smart tech research center

– Foxconn launches $100M smart technology center with University of Illinois


– Wisconsin health secretary says too many people lack insurance

– Wisconsin lawmakers to vote on suicide prevention funding


– Northwest Wisconsin business presentation software firm Fasetto raises $14M


– Pick ‘n Save parent Kroger laying off hundreds of store managers, report says


– Panel OKs bill to make it a felony to trespass on pipeline projects


– Chr. Hansen details plans for $25 million expansion in West Allis

– Available University Club Tower condos with mega terraces carry combined $4M price tag: Open House


– A seat at the table: Disability advocates push for better access when dining out


– Mayfair store operated by Forever 21 could close under bankruptcy plan


– U.S. Cellular to bring 5G technology to Wisconsin and Iowa


– Milwaukee County seeks to expand South Shore Terrace beer garden

– Great Wolf Resorts gets new majority owner in $2.9B deal


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

Wisconsin Bankers Association: How to protect your small business from business email compromise scams

Dairy Business Association: Farmers attend Dairy Strong for free – Register by Nov. 1

Wisconsin School of Business: Enrolls first MS in business analytics class