Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
Drug's Breast Cancer Promise Seems to Fade: Report
U.S. regulators could rescind approval of the cancer drug
Avastin for the treatment of breast cancer, based on follow-up
studies reported Friday that failed to show the medication shrank
tumors or extended lives, according to published reports.
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday will ask a panel of
outside experts to review the evidence on the Roche drug, the
Associated Press said. It's possible the FDA will withdraw
approval of Avastin as a breast cancer treatment.
The drug is also approved for lung, colon, brain and kidney
Avastin received conditional FDA approval in 2008 based on
preliminary evidence that it shrank breast cancer tumors. Continued
approval would depend on subsequent studies showing a survival
benefit, the agency said.
But two follow-up studies recently submitted by Roche failed to
show that Avastin prolonged lives significantly longer than
chemotherapy alone, the
AP said. And the tumor shrinkage findings of previous studies
were not confirmed by recent data, according to documents posted
online, the news agency said.
Army Suicides Hit Record Level in June: Report
A record number of U.S. soldiers committed suicide in June,
despite the Army's increased suicide-prevention efforts that
include counseling, training and education.
The Army said the toll for June is believed to be 32 soldiers,
including 21 on active duty and 11 Guard or Reserve members who
weren't activated at the time they committed suicide. However,
several of them had previously served in Iraq or Afghanistan,
Only four of the 32 cases have been confirmed as suicides.
Official rulings are still pending on the other 28 cases. In most
cases, reported suicides are eventually confirmed, the network
Army suicides are up 12 percent in the first six months of this
year compared to 2009. Last year, 163 soldiers on active duty and
82 Guard and Reserve soldiers not on active duty committed suicide,
FDA Panel Turns Thumbs Down on Weight-Loss Drug
Citing concerns about potential side effects, including memory
problems, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee
voted Thursday not to recommend an experimental weight loss drug
In a 10-6 vote, the FDA advisers said the drug's negative
effects on concentration and memory outweighed its potential
ability to help people lose weight, the
Associated Press reported.
The full FDA will consider the panel's recommendation and make a
final decision later this year. The agency is not bound to follow
the recommendations of its advisory committees but typically does
The application for Qnexa was submitted by Mountainview, Calif.,
drugmaker Vivus Inc.
The agency has not approved a new prescription weight loss pill
in over a decade, and currently available drugs have limited
effectiveness and worrisome side effects, the
Former Vice President Cheney Receives Heart Pump
Former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney had a pump implanted in
his heart last week in order to treat worsening congestive heart
The left ventricular assist device helps pump blood through the
Washington Post reported.
Cheney, 69, has had five heart attacks, the first once occurring
when he was 37 years old. His announcement about his surgery was
Potential risks associated with the left ventricular device
include mechanical failure and blood clotting inside the pump,
which could lead to a stroke, the
Fresh Express Romaine Lettuce Salad Products Recalled
Possible E. coli contamination has prompted a voluntary recall
of Fresh Express romaine lettuce salad products.
The California-based company said the recall covers products
that have use-by dates of July 8, July 9, July 10, July 11 and July
12, and have an "S" in the product code,
The products were distributed in California, Arizona, Arkansas,
Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New
Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah,
Wyoming, Washington and Nevada.
Customers with the products should discard them. For more
information, call Fresh Express at (800) 242-5472.
No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall,
which was announced after a random test by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration detected E. coli in one package of Fresh Express
Hearts of Romaine,
In May, Fresh Express recalled romaine ready-to-eat salads due
to possible salmonella contamination.