AbbVie cancer drug fails two late-stage trials

Reuters, 19 April 2017
Authors: Divya Grover, Savio D’Souza, Bill Rigby
“AbbVie Inc experimental cancer drug, veliparib, failed to meet the main goals of two late-stage studies. The trials evaluated the effect of veliparib, in combination with a chemotherapy regimen, on patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and triple-negative breast cancer. In one trial, the combination treatment failed to improve the overall survival of NSCLC patients. In another trial, the drug did not achieve the complete pathologic response.”
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Terminally ill former lecturer wins right to fight assisted dying ban

The Guardian, 12 April 2017
Author: Owen Bowcott
“A terminally ill former lecturer has won the right to challenge the legal ban on assisted dying in the hope that he can end his life at home surrounded by his family. Assisted dying is prohibited by section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 and voluntary euthanasia is considered murder under English and Welsh law. The chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said the law denied terminally ill people the choice and control they deserved at the end of their lives.”
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Millions of UK asthma sufferers ‘not receiving basic levels of care’

The Guardian, 4 January 2017
Source: Press Association
“Millions of asthma patients are not receiving basic levels of care to keep their condition in check. Two-thirds of sufferers are not being given fundamental care to manage their condition, Asthma UK said. This is about 3.6 million people across the UK. Basic care includes having an appropriate asthma review at least once a year – or more often for severe cases and children – being on the right medication and knowing how to use it, and having a written asthma action plan.”
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US must address addiction as an illness, not as a moral failing, Surgeon General says

BMJ 2016; 355: i6265
Author: Michael McCarthy
“The US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, has called for the country to address its epidemic of substance abuse and addiction as a public health problem and not as a moral issue.“It’s time to change how we view addiction,” Murthy said in a new report, “Not as a moral failing but as a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, urgency, and compassion. The way we address this crisis is a test for America.”
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We need better treatments for childhood cancer, with less side effects

The Conversation, 4 November 2016
Authors: Glenn Marshall and David Ziegler
“The Australian government today announced A$20 million for research to find targeted treatments for childhood cancer. Australians have access to the world’s best treatments, doctors and health systems, yet there is a lack of safe, effective and affordable drugs to treat the most aggressive childhood cancers, such as some brain tumours. One of main reasons for this is that children’s cancer is a rare cancer. This means it is less economically viable for pharmaceutical companies to search for its causes and develop drugs to treat them.”
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Death Of Pfizer Heart Drug Shows The Challenges Of CV R&D And Why Companies Are Bowing Out

Forbes, 2 November 2016
Author: John LaMattina
“Cardiovascular disease continues to be the world’s dominant killer. This is likely to continue to be the case, particularly as both obesity and diabetes, precursors to heart disease, continue to rise dramatically in the western world. Despite the fact that there are good drugs available to reduce LDL-cholesterol, blood pressure, etc., more advances are clearly needed. Yet, biopharmaceutical R&D investment appears to be waning.”
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Colorado Considers Medically Assisted Suicide Measure

CBS, 24 October 2016
Author: James Anderson
“Denver, Proposition 106 would require that a mentally competent patient have a six-month prognosis and get two doctors to sign off on three requests for life-ending medication. It requires doctors to discuss alternatives with the patient. It calls for safe storage, tracking and disposal of lethal drugs, recognizing that a patient can change his or her mind. Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California have already passed medically-assisted-suicide laws.”
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H.I.V. Arrived in the U.S. Long Before ‘Patient Zero’

NYT, 26 October 2016
Author: Donald G. McNeil Jr.
“In the tortuous mythology of the AIDS epidemic, one legend never seems to die: Patient Zero, aka Gaétan Dugas, a globe-trotting, sexually insatiable French Canadian flight attendant who supposedly picked up H.I.V. in Haiti or Africa and spread it to dozens, even hundreds, of other men before his death in 1984. But after a new genetic analysis of stored blood samples, bolstered by some intriguing historical detective work, scientists on Wednesday declared him innocent.”
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Could Zika change the military’s strict abortion laws?

ThinkProgress, 8 October 2016
Author: Erica Hellerstein
“According to the Pentagon, at least 41 active-duty American service members have contracted Zika abroad since January, including one pregnant woman, who we’ll call Y. All have been instructed to wear mosquito repellent, and Y has been given the option of relocating out of the Zika-affected country. But Zika has been linked to a number of complications, including microcephaly, a birth defect that can cause serious cognitive disabilities. That raises an obvious question: What if Y wants an abortion?”
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Dutch may allow assisted suicide for those who feel life is over

Reuters, 12 October 2016
Author: Toby Sterling
“The Dutch government intends to draft a law that would legalize assisted suicide for people who feel they have “completed life,” but are not necessarily terminally ill, it said on Wednesday. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize euthanasia, in 2002, but only for patients who were considered to be suffering unbearable pain with no hope of a cure.”
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