Think Forward.


A New Hope; The Dawn of Computational Pathology

April 12, 2017, marked a revolutionary turning point day in medicine. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted de novo 510(k) clearance of the first whole slide imaging (WSI) system for primary diagnosis in surgical pathology. A product abides an FDA regulation as a medical device if it fulfills in labels, promotion, and/or consumption the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act standards (Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations part 201, [h]), yielding adherence to pre- and post-marketing regulatory purview. The intended usage will decide on the governing pathway yet protect public health. In stark contrast to digitizing radiology initiated in 1980, digital pathology has been lethargic, with many perceiving the late regulatory field as the main barrier to its deployment. Now, such a milestone is a testament to the tenacity of The Digital Pathology Association, the strong evidence of safety, effectiveness, and noninferiority to the discordance rate of glass slides from Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution - the first WSI solution - and, of course, an open-mindedness and forward-thinking of FDA for its implications for pathologists and patients. The first «system enables pathologists to read tissue slides digitally to make diagnoses, rather than looking directly at a tissue sample mounted on a glass slide under a conventional light microscope. » «Because the system digitizes slides that would otherwise be stored in physical files, it also provides a streamlined slide storage and retrieval system that may help make critical health information available to pathologists, other health care professionals, and patients faster. » (Alberto Gutierrez, Ph.D., 2017). Under those conditions, the least inevitable scenarios, such as an expert second opinion and on-site pathologists' hurdles, and the essential to dispatch samples—a process that might prolong for days or weeks contingent on variables like distance, sensitive item, and transportation mode—are eased. Once again, pathology is among the complex subjects encountering global health issues, a chronic shortage of pathologists, stress/burnout, and substantial workloads, e.g., 0.1 pathologists/100k habitats in Africa. Even beyond a century, it has retained a vital function in diagnosing cancer -the 21st-century pandemic. But while pathology governs treatment decisions, patient care avenues, and oncology research, it is paradoxically the most vulnerable to inter- and intra-observer agreement matters. In short, digital pathology, virtual microscopy, or so-called “whole-slide scanning (imaging)”, is to cope with today's pathology pressure by streamlining workflow, widening collaboration and telepathology, boosting diagnostic confidence, and educational purposes, yet unsurprisingly, new horizons have emerged! «Not only will it promote increased efficiencies and collaboration between pathologists, but it also opens a completely new dimension toward computational pathology, which aims to increase accuracies and ultimately enhance patient care. » (Russell Granzow, 2017).

Got venom? Snakes do, and they're not afraid to share!

Snake venom is basically the snake's own zesty hot sauce, but instead of spicing up tacos, it's designed to knock out dinner—or an unlucky human. Imagine this: a snake, a legless danger noodle, whips up this venom, a mix that says, "Back off, buddy, or you'll feel funny!" But here's the kicker: scientists get a kick out of this venom, milking snakes like tiny, scaly cows to make medicine. Yep, the stuff that can make you see double is also being used to fix your health troubles. Talk about a snake with a side hustle!

Angioedema: "From localized swelling attacks to potentially fatal asphyxia"

Angioedemas are characterized by an accumulation of fluid in the mucous membranes and skin resulting in swelling of the face, limbs or genitals.They may carry a risk of asphyxiation when the throat is affected. ANGIOEDEMA OF ALLERGIC ORIGIN In the vast majority of cases, it is an angioedema of allergic origin, about 20% of the population are affected at some point in their life. Often associated with an urticaria, it can be caused by food, insect bite or drug. The treatment of this histamine angioedema is based on corticosteroids and antihistamine drugs. In the most severe cases (quincke's oedema), adrenaline is essential to avoid anaphylactic shock (spread of allergy throughout the body). THE HEREDITARY ANGIOEDEMA Angioedema may have another cause, often unknown : it is the hereditary bradykinic angioedema. This rarer form occurs most often during childhood or adolescence, edema develops gradually and recidivally in a few hours and persists for an average of 2 to 5 days and disappears without sequelae. The frequency and severity of seizures vary according to the patients and for the same patient according to the periods of life. Certain events such as dental procedures, infections, stress, pregnancy ... are the triggering factors of the crisis. The swelling may affect the abdomen, causing severe pain, nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea. Laryngeal edema is life-threatening with a 25% risk of death in the absence of appropriate treatment. Even more rarely, bradykinetic angioedema exists in an acquired non-hereditary form, usually occurring in adults over 50 years of age and subsequent to another disease (autoimmune or cancerous) or to certain drugs such as antihypertensive drugs of the family of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or antidiabetic agents.. The treatment of bradykin angioedema attacks is based on the use of drugs that are not yet available in Morocco (subcutaneous injections of icatibant or intravenous C1Inh concentrate). Tranexamic acid or danazol are basic treatments for the disease. THE MOROCCAN ASSOCIATION OF ANGIOEDEMA The Moroccan Association of Angioedema Patients (AMMAO), chaired by Mr. Imad Elaouni, was created in February 2018 by civil society people and members of the medical and paramedical profession with the aim providing information and awareness to the population about these pathologies as well as the unification of the efforts and the assistance to lend to the people suffering from them. Professor Laurence Bouillet, Professor of Internal Medicine and coordinator of the national reference center on angioedema in France, is the honorary president. AMMAO is also a member of the global network of angioedema -HAEI. -Dr Moussayer Khadija, medical doctor in internal medecine, chairwoman of the alliance of rare diseases in Morocco, vice-president of the Moroccan Association of Angioedema Patients (AMMAO), BIBLIOGRAPHIE - Isabelle Boccon-Gibod , Laurence Bouillet, MD , Clement Olivier, Clinical Characteristics of Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) Type III Patients Compared with Those with HAE Type I/II , JOURNAL OF ALLERGY AND CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY 26/01/13, Doi : 10.1016/j.jaci.2012.12.791 - Laurence Bouillet, Diagnostic des angioedèmes héréditaires, La Presse Médicale, Volume 44, Issue 1, 2015, Pages 52-56, ISSN 0755-4982, - Khadija Moussayer, Les angioedèmes en débat à Casablanca le 19 janvier 2019, Mescursus 29 Décembre 2018. - Khadija Moussayer, On estime que 2.000 personnes sont touchées par les angioedèmes bradykiniques au Maroc, Le Matin ma, 4 janvier 2024 EL ANGIOEDEMA : "Desde los ataques de hinchazón localizados hasta la asfixia potencialmente mortal" El Angioedema se caracteriza por una acumulación de líquido en las mucosas y en la piel, lo que produce unhinchazón e inflamación de la cara, de las extremidades o de los genitales. Puede poner en peligro la vida del paciente, cuando afecta a la vía aérea. En la gran mayoría de los casos, es un angioedema de origen alérgico. Afecta a aproximadamente el 20% de la población en algún momento de su vida, y esta a menudo asociado a la presencia de una urticaria. Puede ser causado por un alimento, una picadura de insecto o un medicamento. El angioedema histamínicose trata concorticosteroides y antihistamínicos. En los casos más graves (edema de Quincke), la adrenalina constituye el tratamiento de elección para evitar el shock anafiláctico. Otra causa del angioedema, a menudo desconocida en Marruecos es : el angioedema bradiquínico hereditario. Se trata de una forma rara que ocurre con mayor frecuencia durante la infancia o la adolescencia. Los pacientes presentan edemas recurrentes que duran de 2 a 5 días y que desaparecen sin secuelas. Los episodios o ataques de la enfermedad se producen de forma impredecible y varían de un paciente a otro. Se conocen una serie de factores que pueden desencadenar los ataques como los procedimientos dentales, las infecciones de la esfera ORL, el estrés, el embarazo ... El hinchazón puede incluso afectar al abdomen, provocando dolores intensos, náuseas y vómitos, así como diarrea. El edema laríngeo es potencialmente mortal, con un riesgo de muerte del 25% en ausencia de un tratamiento adecuado. Una forma aún más rara es el angioedema bradiquínico adquirido no hereditario, cual ocurre generalmente en adultos mayores de 50 años, y es consecuencia de otra enfermedad (autoinmune o cancerosa) o de ciertos medicamentos como los antihipertensivos de la familia de losinhibidores de la enzima convertidora de angiotensina (IECA) o los antidiabéticos. El tratamiento de los ataques de angioedema bradiquínico consiste en el uso de medicamentos que aún no están disponibles en Marruecos (inyecciones subcutáneas de icatibant o administración intravenosa de concentrados de INH-C1). El ácido tranexámico o el danazol constituyen tratamientos de fondode la enfermedad.


The 2nd international conference on phenylketonuria (PKU) was held on November 17-19, 2023, in Marrakech. This event was co-organized by 4 associations: The Moroccan Association for Child and Mother’s Health (AMSEM), HMEMSA (Home of Moroccan Educators and Moroccan Students in America), SOS PKU MAROC, American Moroccan Competencies Network, and the support of the Alliance of Rare Diseases in Morocco (AMRM). INFORMATION AND AWARENESS FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AS WELL AS PATIENTS AND FAMILIES This event aimed to promote the health of affected people with this disease through education, awareness, and support for research. PKU is a rare hereditary disease responsible, in the absence of diagnosis and early treatment, for psychomotor and mental retardation with serious consequences. The accumulation of an aminoacid (phenylalanine) becomes toxic and destroys the nerve cells in the brain. The only available treatment is a diet based on dietary products with low amounts of phenylalanine, which are, unfortunately, very expensive. Eminent specialists from Morocco, the United States, Canada, and Europe intervened during the first scientific day. The 2nd day “PKU family camp” was dedicated to families, patients, and medical professionals to exchange the right support for parents with PKU patients and the long-life management of these patients. The day will was also an opportunity for the clinician specialists to offer consultations to patients and psycho-educational support to their families. AN AFFLICTION WITH TOO OFTEN IRREVERSIBLE CONSEQUENCES PKU is caused by a disorder in the metabolism of phenylalanine, an aminoacid (protein fragment) present in food, and typically transformed into another aminoacid, tyrosine. The enzyme responsible for this aminoacid conversion is defective in PKU patients. The PKU babies gradually develop mental and psychomotor retardation with symptoms such as seizures, nausea and vomiting, skin rash, hyperactivity, aggression or self-harm, reduced head circumference (microcephaly), lighter skin, eyes and hair (a result of tyrosine deficiency). Children often have a “mousy” or musty odor due to a phenylalanine by product in their urine and sweat. THE DIET IS “AN ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE MISSION.” The child must follow a very strict low-protein diet, where meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and starchy foods are eliminated until the age of 12, then, depending on the case, relaxed during adolescence. The precarious availability in Morocco and the high cost of specific dietary products (flour, special pasta, complementary solutions, etc.) often mean that children “literally starve” to respect these rules. A box of specific milk for children costs around 500 Dh and is rarely available in Morocco! In addition, a medication that stimulates the breakdown of phenylalanine and helps reduce the diet in some children exists but is also unavailable! In addition to the enormous constraints generated by the disease, families experience a “real struggle” between the high cost and unavailability of treatment! We must underline the significant assistance the association HEMSA in the US provided for shipping dietary products to SOS PKU in Morocco and their continuous advocacy efforts to have PKU recognized in Morocco. A LIFE-SAVING GESTURE BUT UNFORTUNATELY NOT SYSTEMATIZED IN MOROCCO : NEONATAL SCREENING Depending on the country, the disease affects between 1 in 20,000 and 1 in 4,000 newborns. Morocco most likely has a high prevalence due to the high consanguinity in the society, which increases the frequency of this genetic disease. Typically, this disease must be screened systematically in all newborns; the absence of this screening and the early regime results in several thousand children and adults with mental disabilities. This test, carried out using a few drops of blood taken on the 3rd day of life and placed on a blotting paper, would make it possible to avoid these complications. The test already exists in all European and certain Arab countries. CONSULTATION WITH PUBLIC AUTHORITIES Discussions are underway with the Ministry of Health and the various stakeholders for recognizing PKU as a long-term condition, launching a neonatal screening program, and marketing dietary products in Morocco. The event was an an excellent opportunity to sign partnership agreements between AMSEM and SOS PKU MAROC with the Alliance of Rare Diseases in Morocco. This exciting development will undoubtedly pave the way for fruitful collaboration between these organizations, improve and save lives, reduce PKU patients suffering, and provide substantial spill over benefits for maternal, child, and family health. Dr MOUSSAYER KHADIJA الدكتورة خديجة موسيار Chairwoman of Alliance Rare diseases Morocco RESUME EN FRANÇAIS Les 17 et 18 novembre 2023 s’est tenue à Marrakech la 2ème conférence internationale sur la phénylcétonurie (PCU), coorganisée par 4 entités : Association Marocaine pour la Santé de l’Enfant et de la Mère (AMSEM), HMEMSA (Home of Moroccan Educators and Moroccan Students in America), SOS PKU MAROC, American Moroccan Competencies Network et avec le soutien de l’Alliance des Maladies Rares au Maroc (AMRM). Cet évènement avait pour objectif de promouvoir la santé des personnes atteinte à travers l’éducation, la sensibilisation et le soutien à la recherche. La PCU est une maladie rare héréditaire responsable, en absence de diagnostic et de prise en charge précoce, d’un retard psychomoteur et mental aux conséquences graves, à la suite de la destruction des cellules nerveuses du cerveau par l’accumulation toxique d’un acide aminé (phénylalanine). Le seul traitement est un régime alimentaire se basant sur des produits diététiques faibles en phénylalanine, malheureusement très chers. D’éminents spécialistes du Maroc, des Etats Unis, du Canada et d’Europe sont intervenus lors d’une 1ère journée scientifique. La 2ème journée, le « PKU family camp », a été dédiée aux familles, patients et aussi au corps médical pour échanger et faire connaître les bonnes pratiques au quotidien, notamment pour une meilleure efficience du régime.

From 'Yikes!' to 'Yes, Please!': Snake Venom's Medical Magic

Think of snake venom as nature's spicy sauce – it's not just for biting! Each snake mixes its own special blend, some zapping nerves (neurotoxic) and others messing with blood (hemotoxic). But here's the fun twist: this scary snake juice is stirring up some medical magic. Got high blood pressure? Thank pit vipers for Captopril. Clotty blood? Tip your hat to the tiny pygmy rattlesnake for Eptifibatide. Who knew snake venom could go from 'Yikes!' to 'Yes, please!' in the world of medicine?