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First estimate of total viruses in mammals

September 3, 2013 4:30 pm | News | Comments

Scientists estimate that there is a minimum of 320,000 viruses in mammals awaiting discovery. Collecting evidence of these viruses, or even a majority of them, they say, could provide information critical to early detection and mitigation of disease outbreaks in humans. This undertaking would cost approximately $6.3 billion, or $1.4 billion if limited to 85% of total viral diversity.

Onyx, Bayer expect new Nexavar decision by Dec. 25

August 27, 2013 11:17 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Bayer said Tuesday that regulators will conduct a faster review of their pill Nexavar as a treatment for thyroid cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing Nexavar as a treatment for locally advanced or metastatic thyroid cancer that doesn't respond to treatment with radioactive iodine. The companies said the FDA expects to complete its review by Dec. 25. to.

Dropout rates for oncology Phase I trials remain under 10%

August 26, 2013 8:12 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The overall dropout rate for oncology Phase I trials is very low at only 8%, a study by Cutting Edge Information found. However dropout rates tend to rise as the number of required visits increases. The study discovered that the average number of patients enrolled for these trials across all therapeutic areas is 47.2.

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Feds, family reach deal on use of DNA information

August 9, 2013 8:13 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Some 60 years ago, a doctor in Baltimore removed cancer cells from a poor black patient named Henrietta Lacks without her knowledge or consent. Those cells eventually helped lead to a multitude of medical treatments and lay the groundwork for the multibillion-dollar biotech industry. Now, for the first time, the Lacks family has been given a say over at least some research involving her cells.

When writing antibiotic prescriptions, doctors favor strongest drugs

August 1, 2013 1:55 pm | News | Comments

A study at the Univ. of Utah finds that more than 60% of antibiotic prescriptions are for types that kill multiple kinds of bacteria. Unfortunately, in more than 25% of cases such prescriptions are useless because the infection stems from a virus, which cannot be treated with antibiotics. This overuse of antibiotics has a number of downsides.

FDA proposes rules for safer imported foods

July 26, 2013 5:14 pm | by MARY CLARE JALONICK - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Chances are that about 15% of the food you eat—more if your diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables and cheese—comes from abroad, and the government is taking steps now to make it safer. New rules proposed Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would make U.S. food importers responsible for ensuring that their foreign suppliers are handling and processing food safely.

Activists warn trade pact will keep out generics

July 3, 2013 4:42 am | by EILEEN NG - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A free trade pact being negotiated by the U.S. and 11 Asia-Pacific nations will impose aggressive intellectual property rules that will restrict access to affordable medicines in developing nations, health activists warned Wednesday. The 12 countries will start an 18th round of talks in Malaysia on July 15 and hope to complete negotiations by October.

U.S. health care: Does more spending yield better health?

May 23, 2013 8:20 am | News | Comments

Health care spending is much higher for older Americans than for younger adults and children, on average, and analysts have said that increasing spending leads to longer life expectancy. But new research from the University of Michigan indicates that aging populations could view things differently.

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Huge drug cost disparities seen in health overhaul

May 13, 2013 3:11 am | by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Cancer patients could face high costs for medications under President Barack Obama's health care law, industry analysts and advocates warn. Where you live could make a huge difference in what you'll pay. To try to keep premiums low, some states are allowing insurers to charge patients a hefty share of the cost for expensive medications used to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other life-altering chronic diseases.

Nanomaterial toxicity study sets stage for policies to address health risks

May 6, 2013 7:41 am | News | Comments

For the first time, researchers from institutions around the country have conducted an identical series of toxicology tests evaluating lung-related health impacts associated with widely used engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). The study provides comparable health risk data from multiple laboratories, which should help regulators develop policies to protect workers and consumers who come into contact with ENMs.

FDA finds safety issues at specialty pharmacies

April 12, 2013 11:29 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Food and Drug Administration says it has uncovered potential safety problems at 30 specialty pharmacies that were inspected in the wake of a recent outbreak of meningitis caused by contaminated drugs. The agency said its inspectors targeted 31 compounding pharmacies that produce sterile drugs, which must be prepared under highly sanitary conditions.

New world strategy aims to eradicate polio by 2018

April 2, 2013 5:44 pm | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A new global plan aims to end most cases of polio by late next year, and essentially eradicate the paralyzing disease by 2018 — if authorities can raise the $5.5 billion needed to do the work, health officials said Tuesday. Part of the challenge will be increasing security for vaccine workers who have come under attack in two of the hardest-hit countries. And the plan calls for changing how much of the world protects against polio, phasing out the long-used oral vaccine in favor of a pricier but safer shot version.

Obama proposes $100M for brain mapping project

April 2, 2013 12:35 pm | by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama on Tuesday asked Congress to spend $100 million next year on a new project to map the human brain in hopes of eventually finding cures for disorders like Alzheimer's, epilepsy and traumatic injuries. The BRAIN Initiative, he said, could create jobs and eventually lead to answers to ailments including Parkinson's and autism and help reverse the effect of a stroke.

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Researchers seek to reduce deafening jet engine noise

March 25, 2013 11:59 am | News | Comments

Have you ever had a fighter jet fly over your home and the noise of the aircraft booms loud enough to rattle the windows? Imagine working on an aircraft carrier or air base, up close to the engines as they take off or land. Several U.S.-based research teams, with the support of the Office of Naval Research, have been tasked with finding a way to reduce that deafening noise as part of a three-year project.

China wrestles with cost of cleaner environment

March 13, 2013 5:19 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Facing public outrage over smog-choked cities and filthy rivers, China's leaders are promising to clean up the country's neglected environment—a pledge that sets up a clash with political pressures to keep economic growth strong.

Ground-level ozone falling faster than model predicted

March 11, 2013 1:32 pm | News | Comments

According to a recent study from Rice University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there is good news and better news about ground-level ozone in American cities. While dangerous ozone levels have fallen in places that clamp down on emissions from vehicles and industry, the report suggests that a model widely used to predict the impact of remediation efforts has been too conservative. 

India rejects Bayer plea against cheap cancer drug

March 5, 2013 10:15 am | by Nirmala George, Associated Press | News | Comments

India's patent appeals office has rejected Bayer AG's plea to stop the production of a cheaper generic version of a patented cancer drug in a ruling that health groups say is an important precedent for getting inexpensive lifesaving medicines to the poor. Bayer sells a one month supply of the drug for about $5,600. Natco's version would cost Indian patients $175 a month, less than 1/30th as much.

U.S. warns of new fake batch of cancer drug Avastin

February 6, 2013 12:25 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Food and Drug Administration is warning U.S. doctors about another counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin, the third case involving the best-selling Roche drug in the past year. The FDA said in an online post Tuesday that at least one batch of the drug distributed by a New York company does not contain the active ingredient in real Avastin, which is used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney, and brain.

Safety testing system proposed for development of new chemicals

December 10, 2012 7:59 am | by Jocelyn Duffy, CMU | News | Comments

Claiming that recent product recalls and bans indicate that product manufacturers do not have adequate tools for identifying and avoiding the use of harmful chemicals in their products, a group of scientists from North America and Europe has developed a five-tiered testing system that manufacturers can use to ensure that the consumer products they produce are free of endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA or DDT.

Gene-altered mosquitoes could be used vs. dengue

December 6, 2012 9:26 am | by Jennifer Kay, Associated Press | News | Comments

Mosquito control officials in the Florida Keys are waiting for the federal government to sign off on an experiment that would release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of dengue fever in the tourist town of Key West. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it would be the first such experiment in the U.S. Some residents, however, are worried about the risks.

Fast-growing fish may never wind up on your plate

December 5, 2012 10:45 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

After weathering concerns about everything from the safety of humans eating the salmon to their impact on the environment, Aquabounty was in a position to become the world's first company to sell fish whose DNA has been altered to speed up growth. But after positive feedback from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010, the agency still has not approved the fish and the company could soon run out of money.

Emerging vector-borne diseases create public health challenge

November 30, 2012 10:35 am | News | Comments

A series of papers published recently in the journal The Lancet are calling attention to the rapid spread of vector-borne, zoonotic diseases such as West Nile virus, dengue fever, and Lyme disease. These diseases, spread to humans by animals like mosquitos and ticks, are advancing as a result of urbanization, land use, and more intensive agricultural practices.

Many home couches contain potentially toxic flame retardants

November 28, 2012 12:28 pm | News | Comments

Scientists are reporting an increasing use of flame retardants in the main gathering spot for adults, children and family pets in the home—the couch. In recent study, Heather Stapleton and colleagues describe the first efforts to detect and identify the flame retardants applied to the foam inside couches found in millions of family rooms and living rooms across the U.S.

Bioethics panel urges more gene privacy protection

October 11, 2012 5:53 pm | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

A presidential commission found that it is legally possible in about half of U.S. states to decode a person’s DNA from a sample without their knowledge. Such information could be used to predict what diseases lurk in the person’s future. Although such whole genome sequencing is too costly now to permit abuse, the collision of privacy and genetics is prompting calls for action.

Gas drilling research suffers from lack of funding

August 2, 2012 10:28 am | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

Is gas drilling ruining the air, polluting water and making people sick? The evidence is sketchy and inconclusive, but a lack of serious funding is delaying efforts to resolve those pressing questions and creating a vacuum that could lead to a crush of lawsuits, some experts say.

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