Health Highlights: June 29, 2016

Health Highlights: June 29, 2016

Health Highlights: June 29, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Federal Funding Could be Cut if Cancer Researchers Don't Release Findings: Biden

U.S. government funding could be halted for cancer studies that don't publicly disclose their results, Vice President Joe Biden warned Wednesday at a cancer summit in Washington, D.C.

He said the culture in cancer research is hindering progress in finding new treatments and that he was "committed to doing everything in my power" to change that culture, the Associated Press reported.

Prominent medical centers that receive millions of federal dollars are ignoring a stipulation that they submit their results to a publicly accessible database within a year, according to Biden.

"Doc, I'm going to find out if it's true, and if it's true, I'm going to cut funding," Biden said. "That's a promise."

The vice president has been asking for months for cancer researchers to be more open with their data and clinical trial results so that scientists can build on each others' successes in order to develop new treatments, the AP reported.

Biden's warning at the summit was the first time he suggested that researchers who don't share their findings could lose their National Institutes of Health funding.

The White House said it is developing a rule to punish researchers and organizations who ignore the requirement to release findings within a year, the AP reported.

The world is "on the cusp of breakthroughs," but the cancer community is essentially standing in its own way, Biden said at the summit, part of his "cancer moonshot" effort. He singled out major research hospitals for poor collaboration and drug companies for unwarranted price hikes.

But cancer researchers and institutions claim they already share large amounts of data and often work together and with the government, and also say government rules make it difficult to develop treatments quickly and get them approved for patients, the AP reported.

Biden announced the "cancer moonshot" effort last year after his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, died of brain cancer, the AP reported.

"This isn't about him, it's not about a single person, it's about us," Biden said. "Not giving up hope. And having the urgency of now."

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Florida Reports First Case of Zika-Linked Birth Defect

Florida's first case of a Zika-related birth defect has been reported by state officials.

The baby, born to a woman who was infected with the mosquito-borne virus in Haiti, has microcephaly, in which the head is smaller than normal and the brain is underdeveloped, NBC News reported.

"The mother, a citizen of Haiti, came to Florida to deliver her baby," according to a state health department statement. "The department is working with the family to connect the child to services through our Early Steps program."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking 265 women in the U.S. who were infected with Zika while pregnant. All the infections occurred during travel to other countries, NBC News reported.

There are another 216 pregnant women with Zika in territories such as Puerto Rico, where there are local epidemics of the virus.

To date, four babies in the U.S. have been born with Zika-linked birth defects and another four pregnancies have been lost to miscarriage or aborted because of birth defects, according to the CDC.

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