- Clinical Trial Ended for Prostate Cancer Vaccine
- Disappointing Results Noted in Anti-Clotting Drug Trials
- Canadian Food Poisoning Death Toll Jumps
- Gleevec Given Priority FDA Review for Intestinal Cancer
- TV Ad Condemns the Hot Dog
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Clinical Trial Ended for Prostate Cancer Vaccine
Biotech startup Cell Genesys has ended a clinical study of its prostate cancer vaccine GVAX due to a rise in deaths among users of the vaccine compared with those taking another drug, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
"What we do not know is the reason for the imbalance in deaths," Cell Genesys CEO Stephen Sherwin was quoted as saying. He labeled the interim trial results "very disappointing and surprising news."
The Phase III trial of the vaccine had begun in 2005. Of 408 people with spreading (metastatic) prostate cancer who participated in the trial, 114 had died. Sixty-seven of those deaths involved people using GVAX and the chemotherapy drug Taxotere, while the other 47 deaths involved people taking Taxotere and the corticosteroid prednisone, the newspaper said.
Another trial, which will continue, uses GVAX by itself. Participants in that trial are said to be generally healthier than those in the discontinued study, the Chronicle reported.
Disappointing Results Noted in Anti-Clotting Drug Trials
Results from late-stage trials of the anti-clotting drug apixaban have been disappointing, said makers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Early data from the Phase III testing of apixaban showed the drug wasn't better than a current drug, Lovenox, in preventing clotting complications in people who had knee replacement, the companies said.
The drug makers also announced they would postpone plans to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve apixaban for venous thromboembolism, a condition that includes deep vein thrombosis. The filing had been slated for the second half of next year, the Journal said.
Canadian Food Poisoning Death Toll Jumps
The Canadian government has revised upward the death toll associated with tainted meat products to 12 from four, The New York Times reported.
Earlier this week, it had been reported that in addition to the deaths, there were 26 confirmed cases of people sickened by the recalled cold cuts, which may be tainted with listeria bacteria. Another 29 suspected cases are awaiting analysis, a number that is expected to rise, the Times reported.
Some 220 products have been recalled by Maple Leaf, one of Canada's largest food makers. It has closed the Toronto plant where the recalled products were produced for sanitizing, the newspaper said.
Gleevec Given Priority FDA Review for Intestinal Cancer
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given priority review to the Novartis drug Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) as a treatment for gastrointestinal cancer after surgery, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Priority review means the agency is likely to decide whether to approve Gleevec for gastrointestinal stromal tumors within six months, instead of the typical 10 months. The drug is already approved to treat other types of cancer.
Novartis said in clinical testing, people with kit-positive gastrointestinal cancer who got Gleevec lived longer and were 89 percent less likely to have the cancer return than those who didn't take the drug, the wire service reported.
A protein mutation that characterizes kit-positive forms of this cancer is present in more than 90 percent of cases in the United States, the AP said.
TV Ad Condemns the Hot Dog
A television ad that links eating hot dogs with colon cancer doesn't exactly cut the mustard, critics charge.
"I was dumbfounded when the doctor told me I have late-stage colon cancer," mourns a little boy in the 33-second ad, according to the Associated Press. But in truth, the boy and two hot-dog-eating co-stars don't have the disease, the AP added.