Global Health News: Breakthroughs in Cancer, Vaccines, and Biotech Issues

Current health news includes Pfizer's lung cancer drug Lorbrena potentially hitting $1 billion in sales by 2030, U.S. lawmakers probing GenScript Biotech's links to China, Texas Supreme Court's stance on abortion in complicated pregnancies, EMA's recommendation of Valneva's chikungunya vaccine, progress on a global pandemic treaty, lawsuits on Zantac causing cancer, GSK's promising blood cancer drug, Bristol Myers' skin cancer therapy, and Moderna's new RSV vaccine approval.

Reuters | Updated: 02-06-2024 18:27 IST | Created: 02-06-2024 18:27 IST
Global Health News: Breakthroughs in Cancer, Vaccines, and Biotech Issues
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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Pfizer sees lung cancer drug topping $1 billion in sales following impressive 5-year data

Pfizer said it expects its cancer drug Lorbrena to top $1 billion in annual sales by 2030 on the strength of data presented on Friday showing most patients treated for a rare form of advanced lung cancer in a clinical trial were alive without the disease worsening after five years. Lorbrena, like Pfizer's Xalkori, is designed to treat cancer with a mutation of a specific gene called anaplastic lymphoma kinase, or ALK.

US lawmakers ask FBI for briefing on GenScript Biotech's links to China

The U.S. House of Representatives committee on China has asked the FBI and the intelligence community for a briefing on GenScript Biotechnology Co and three subsidiaries to determine if the Chinese Communist Party has influence over their operations. In a letter dated May 30 to the FBI and the U.S. office of the director of national intelligence, committee chair John Moolenaar and ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi said GenScript's work with U.S. companies and the government raises concerns about the intellectual property of U.S. firms and could help improve China's biotech capabilities.

Texas top court won't guarantee right to abortion in complicated pregnancies

Texas' highest court on Friday refused to ensure that doctors in the U.S. state are not prosecuted for abortions they believe are necessary in medically complicated pregnancies, rejecting a lawsuit by 22 patients and physicians. The Texas Supreme Court's decision follows an earlier ruling from the court denying a woman's request for an emergency abortion of a non-viable pregnancy. In both cases, plaintiffs said the medical exception to the state's near-total abortion ban was unclear, and left doctors unwilling to perform medically necessary abortions in the face of severe penalties including potentially life in prison.

EU regulator recommends use of Valneva's chikungunya vaccine

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended Valneva's single-dose chikungunya vaccine for use on Friday, setting it up as the first preventive shot against the disease in Europe. EMA's recommendation for the French firm's vaccine Ixchiq comes as the mosquito-borne disease, for which no approved drugs exist, has been spreading due to climate change.

Global pandemic treaty to be concluded by 2025, WHO says

Talks aimed at reaching a global agreement on how to better fight pandemics will be concluded by 2025 or earlier if possible, the World Health Organization said on Saturday. The WHO's 194 member states have been negotiating for two years on an agreement that could increase collaboration before and during pandemics after the acknowledged failures during COVID-19.

Delaware judge lets more than 70,000 Zantac lawsuits go forward

A Delaware judge has allowed more than 70,000 lawsuits over discontinued heartburn drug Zantac to go forward, ruling that expert witnesses can testify in court that the drug may cause cancer. The ruling on Friday by Judge Vivian Medinilla of the Delaware Superior Court in Wilmington is a setback for former Zantac makers GSK, Pfizer, Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim, which had argued that the expert witnesses' opinions lacked scientific support.

GSK blood cancer drug nearly halves risk of death in late-stage trial

GSK's multiple myeloma drug Blenrep nearly halved the risk of disease progression or death compared to standard-of-care treatments for the incurable blood cancer, according to data from a late-stage study presented at a medical meeting on Sunday. In the trial of 302 patients with relapsed or difficult-to-treat multiple myeloma, 71% of those who received Blenrep in combination with the steroid dexamethasone and pomalidomide were alive without their disease worsening at the end of a year.

Pre-surgery treatment with Bristol Myers combination therapy leads to better skin cancer outcomes

Treatment with Bristol Myers Squibb's immunotherapies Opdivo and Yervoy prior to surgery for patients whose skin cancer had spread to lymph nodes had better outcomes than those who did not get the drugs before node removal procedures, according to data from a late-stage trial released on Sunday. The study of 423 patients with stage 3 melanoma found that 83.7% of patients who received the immunotherapies before their surgery were alive without the disease worsening after 12-months.

US FDA approves Moderna's RSV vaccine with lower-than-expected efficacy in its label

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Moderna's respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine, the company announced on Friday, giving it a shot at much-needed new revenue from a second product. Moderna's vaccine was approved for the prevention of RSV-associated lower respiratory tract disease in adults aged 60 or older, but with a label indicating the shot was 79% effective at preventing at least two symptoms of RSV, such as cough and fever.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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