News from the drug regulators
FDA Approves First Maintenance Drug Therapy for Advanced Lung Cancer
The US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has just approved earlier this week the first ever maintenance drug for advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The drug pemetrexed (marketed as Alimta) is intended “to prevent the disease from progressing after the tumor has shrunk or the disease has stabilized in response to chemotherapy. Alimta disrupts metabolic processes that are dependent on the B-vitamin folate, a necessary ingredient for cell replication.”
Alimta was previously approved for mesothelioma, an asbestos-associated cancer, in 2004 . It is manufactured by Eli Lilly.
News from the stem cell research regulators
NIH Issues New Stem Cell Research Guidelines
The National Institutes of Health has issued new guidelines for human stem cell research. This is in response to US President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13505: Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells. The new guidelines provide for permission to start new stem cell lines, establishment of a stem cell lines registry , as well as using existing stem cell lines for application for dederal research funding. However, this doesn’t mean that stem cell research in the US is now completely unregulated. They are still restrictions, albeit relatively looser than before. Creation of new stem cell lines, for example, is only allowed from left over embryos of in vitro fertilization, and only if the owners have signed over those embryos for research. In addition, the donors should be fully informed of the fate of the embryos but shouldn’t received any compensation at any time. The new guidelines took effect on July 7, 2009.
News from the cancer hunters
Cancer biology: At rest in the bones
Researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York have identified a protein that helps breast cancer cells to survive in the bone marrow for long periods of time. The cancer-promoting protein is called Src and are found in human breast cancer cells. Patient relapse after 5 years has been traced to “a unique pattern of Src-regulated gene expression.” The findings are published in the July issue of Cancer Cell.
News from the film makers
Stronger than ever
For its 6oth birthday, the Jimmy Fund of the Dana Farber Institute has added a short film masterpiece to its Jimmy Fund/Variety Children’s Charity Theatre Collections Program. Trailer of the short film will be shown in participating theatres in the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.