News from the cancer side, December 26



Happy Boxing Day. Be sure to reuse or recycle those boxes!

News from the regulators

FDA approves Gleevec to prevent recurrence of rare gastrointestinal cancer.
Gleevec or imatinib mesylate, an anti-tumor product of Novartis has been approved for a new indication by the US FDA. The new indication is for gastrointestinal stromal tumor or GIST, a rare type of cancer that originates in the interstitial cells of Cajal, which are found in the gastrointestinal tract. Gleevec can now be used to patients with GIST after tumor removal surgery to prevent recurrence.

News from the celebrities

Gabrielle Union helps fight breast cancer in Ghana
Actress Gabriel Union travelled top Ghana to promote breast cancer awareness as part of her role as a Global Ambassador with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Circle of Promise program. Gabriel stars in the movie Cadillac Records. Check out the audio interview at Nationla Public Radio (NPR).

News from the global health front

Melamine and the global implications of food contamination
In this perspective article in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Julie Ingelfinger writes about the global implication of food contamination, a concern largely triggered by the recent melamine scandal. Although the melamine problem seems to have now been contained (at least for now), the long-term effects of the contaminant, a potential carcinogen, remain unknown.

Dr. Ingelfinger writes

“In today’s world, it is crucial to understand and deal with the global implications of foodborne diseases if problems like the melamine epidemic are to be prevented. In 2006, the WHO launched an ambitious project to estimate and understand the global burden of foodborne disease, and the Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group appears to be well on its way to achievement of its initial goals. In addition, the group will be developing much-needed user-friendly tools so that outbreaks, be they due to organisms or chemical substances, can be studied more rapidly and the causes identified, reported, and eliminated.

News from the health care side

Clinical pharmacists can reduce drug costs
Researchers at the University of Chicago may have found a way to reduce drug costs. They report that clinical pharmacy services provided in hospitals, community pharmacies, nursing homes, and other medical facilities may be the answer to the ever increasing cost of drugs in the US. “Clinical pharmacy services, defined as services that involve direct patient care by a clinical pharmacist. Unlike traditional pharmacy services, in which a pharmacist dispenses medications, clinical pharmacists make recommendations to physicians regarding drug therapy or sometimes even help write the prescription.”

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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