Health News Roundup: US FDA grants accelerated approval for Iovance's skin cancer cell therapy; Denali-Sanofi's ALS drug fails to meet mid-stage trial goal and more

The drug would be used to treat adults with a type of advanced lung cancer, AstraZeneca said, adding that the FDA's approval was based on trials which extended median progression-free survival (PFS) by nearly nine months. Australian authorities say more Sydney schools tainted with asbestos An asbestos contamination in Sydney widened on Sunday, with authorities saying the toxic material had been detected in more schools, as a weeks-long effort continued to remove it from mulch used in public places.


Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 18-02-2024 10:39 IST | Created: 18-02-2024 10:25 IST
Health News Roundup: US FDA grants accelerated approval for Iovance's skin cancer cell therapy; Denali-Sanofi's ALS drug fails to meet mid-stage trial goal and more
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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

US FDA grants accelerated approval for Iovance's skin cancer cell therapy

Iovance Biotherapeutics said on Friday the U.S. health regulator has granted an accelerated approval for its cell therapy for adult patients with advanced melanoma, the first such treatment to be approved for the deadliest form of skin cancer. The agency's greenlight for the first cell therapy targeting a solid tumor allows use in patients who have been previously treated with other therapies, but their cancer has spread to other parts of the body, and cannot be removed with surgery.

Telemedicine abortion is as safe, effective as in-person care, US study finds

Abortion pills sent to pregnant women after video call or text message consultations are as safe and effective as in-person care, according to a large study from the United States, where access to abortion has been markedly curtailed in recent years. Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2022 to eliminate the nationwide right to abortion, at least 14 U.S. states have put in place outright abortion bans while many others prohibit abortion after a certain duration of pregnancy.

Trump privately favors 16-week national abortion ban, New York Times reports

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has privately expressed support for a 16-week national abortion ban, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest or risk to a mother's life, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing two sources.

That stance would mark a pivot after Trump has for years remained vague on the hot-button issue and refused to endorse a national ban. Democratic President Joe Biden, whom Trump is likely to face in the November general election, pounced on the news, saying that Trump was "running to rip away your rights."

US FDA to review Sarepta's Duchenne gene therapy for traditional approval

Sarepta Therapeutics said on Friday that the US FDA would review an application seeking traditional approval for its gene therapy to treat a muscle-wasting disorder by June 21, months after it failed the main goal of a confirmatory trial. Shares of the company rose nearly 11% in morning trading. They briefly fell in October after data from the confirmatory study, but have recovered losses since then.

U.S. FDA approves AstraZeneca's Tagrisso-chemo combo

A combination of AstraZeneca's blockbuster cancer drug Tagrisso with chemotherapy to treat a type of lung cancer has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the company said in a statement on Friday. The drug would be used to treat adults with a type of advanced lung cancer, AstraZeneca said, adding that the FDA's approval was based on trials which extended median progression-free survival (PFS) by nearly nine months.

Australian authorities say more Sydney schools tainted with asbestos

An asbestos contamination in Sydney widened on Sunday, with authorities saying the toxic material had been detected in more schools, as a weeks-long effort continued to remove it from mulch used in public places. The contamination was discovered in January when asbestos was found in a playground in the New South Wales capital, and a subsequent probe found it in recycled mulch near the park, built above an underground road interchange.

Daiichi invests 1 billion eur near Munich to make precision cancer drugs

Daiichi Sankyo said on Friday it would invest about 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) to expand a site near Munich, Germany, to boost its work on precision cancer drugs. The expansion project marks another welcome win to shore up the government's economic credentials after U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly in November pledged to invest 2.3 billion euros to make obesity and diabetes drugs in Germany, even as the country is likely to see a second year of recession in 2024.

Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk get growth stock status on weight-loss drug boost

U.S.-based Eli Lilly and Denmark's Novo Nordisk have struck gold with their weight-loss drugs, sending their shares to stratospheric levels and putting them on par with some high-growth tech stocks. Retail and institutional investors alike have flocked to the two stocks in the past year, as they bet on explosive demand for the companies' obesity drugs, called GLP-1 agonists, in a market that some analysts expect could breach $100 billion.

Denali-Sanofi's ALS drug fails to meet mid-stage trial goal

Drug developer Denali Therapeutics said on Friday its and partner Sanofi's experimental drug for a fatal neurodegenerative disease failed to slow decline of motor function in a mid-stage study. Shares of Denali were down nearly 8% in morning trading.

England's NHS to trim main healthcare wait list ahead of election

England's health service will move about 40,000 pending child consultations for ADHD, autism and other conditions from its main waiting list, a person with direct knowledge of the change said, trimming the politically sensitive list ahead of an expected election. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose Conservative Party is trailing the Labour Party in opinion polls, has vowed to reduce wait times in the state-run National Health Service (NHS). He admitted last week he had not made enough progress, blaming strikes by healthcare workers.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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