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By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - The idea of using vaccines to fight cancer has received a shot in the arm from a $1 billion deal between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Bavarian Nordic. The agreement gives the U.S. drugmaker an exclusive option to the Danish biotech firm's therapeutic prostate cancer vaccine Prostvac and signals that such shots may have a bright future when combined with so-called checkpoint inhibitor drugs. Shares in Bavarian Nordic surged 35 percent on Wednesday on news of the Bristol-Myers tie-up, under which it could receive up to $975 million, including an upfront payment of $60 million. Unlike traditional preventative vaccines, therapeutic ones are designed for people with established disease and the aim is to boost the patient's immune system to keep tumors at bay. . . more
McDonald's Corp's U.S. restaurants will gradually stop buying chicken raised with antibiotics vital to fighting human infections, the most aggressive step by a major food company to force chicken producers to change practices in the fight against dangerous 'superbugs.' The world's biggest restaurant chain announced on Wednesday that within two years McDonald's USA will only buy chickens raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine. McDonald's policy will begin at the hatchery, where chicks are sometimes injected with antibiotics while still in the shell. She said the company is working with its domestic chicken suppliers, including Tyson Foods Inc, to make the transition. Veterinary use of antibiotics is legal. . . more
(Reuters) - When the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the new challenge to President Barack Obamas healthcare law on Wednesday, the justices will hear from two experienced attorneys with dueling views and contrasting styles. DONALD VERRILLI U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, 57, will defend the law for the Obama administration. When Verrilli argued on behalf of the law the first time, in 2012, news and political commentators lambasted him. This was a train wreck for the Obama administration, CNN legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin said at the time, contending Verrillis style was shaky and his responses ineffective. . . more
By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the U.S. Supreme Court takes on a make-or-break Obamacare case this week, a growing number of U.S. patients and their doctors are already devising a Plan B in case they lose medical coverage. The Court's ruling, expected by late June, will determine whether millions of Americans will keep receiving federal subsidies to help them pay for private health insurance under President Barack Obama's healthcare law. The White House, which said it is confident the justices will rule in favor of the subsidies that are a key element of Obamacare, said it has no immediate fix if the decision goes the other way. Worried about newly-insured patients such as those who have just begun treatment for cancer or other serious illnesses, they are dusting off playbooks they retired when Obamacare slashed the number of uninsured people. . . more
(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in a second major challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare law. Florida and other states begin suing on the day it is signed into law, challenging the constitutionality of the "individual mandate" that requires Americans to obtain health insurance. - May, 2, 2013: With the financial backing of the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a group of individuals and businesses sue the government in federal court in the District of Columbia, claiming the law's text allows tax-credit subsidies only for insurance purchased on exchanges established by states. . . more
WASHINGTON (AP) The Supreme Court convened Wednesday to hear arguments in a major test of President Barack Obama's health overhaul that threatens insurance coverage for millions of people. . . more
(This February 27 story was corrected to say CFO, not CEO, in third paragraph of second section) By Sara Ledwith and Martinne Geller LONDON (Reuters) - Electronic cigarette firms in Italy say a new levy that doubles the price of e-liquid refills unfairly helps tobacco giants like Philip Morris International and will hurt their industry. The tax, which was adopted in January, is set at half the rate of that on traditional cigarettes. The controversy centers on the fact that the lower rate is applied to both electronic cigarettes and to tobacco products such as Marlboro HeatSticks, which Philip Morris is launching in Italy alongside a 500 million euro ($568 million) factory investment. . . more
At least 16 people were injured on Wednesday when a large fire broke out at a convention center in a northeastern Cairo neighborhood, medical and security sources said. Health Ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said 16 people were wounded in the fire. Interior Ministry spokesman Hani Abdellatif told state television the initial investigation showed the fire may have started in a closed office and spread through central air-conditioning vents. . . more
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Wednesday on a second major legal attack on President Barack Obama's healthcare law, with conservative challengers taking aim at a pivotal part of the statute that authorizes tax subsidies to help people afford insurance. On a chilly, damp, cloudy day in the U.S. capital, about a couple hundred demonstrators mostly from pro-Obamacare forces including labor unions, a nurses group, Planned Parenthood and women's groups gathered on the sidewalk in front of the white marble columned courthouse ahead of the argument. Some demonstrators chanted, "Healthcare under attack, stand up, fight back." Some of the signs said "Don't take my care" and "8 + million could lose coverage." One of the demonstrators, Pittsburgh nurse Michelle Boyle, said it is important that Americans who need help buying health insurance continue to get it under this law. . . more
Adults and children must cut the amount of sugar they consume by as much as half in North America and Western Europe and even more in other areas to lower risk of obesity and tooth decay, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. New guidelines meant people should reduce the amount to less than 10 percent of their daily energy intake -- or to about 50 grams or 12 teaspoons of sugar for adults, experts at the U.N. body told Reuters. The current average in North and Central America was 95 grams per adult per day, in South America about 130 grams, and in Western Europe about 101 grams, said Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development. . . more
The World Health Organization on Wednesday urged a dramatic drop in the consumption of sugar, "hidden" in everything from sodas and ketchup, as it steps up the fight against obesity. The UN health agency had previously issued guidelines that sugars should make up less than 10 percent of a person's total daily energy intake, but in a new twist urged countries to strive for half that. Health-hazardous free sugars, in the form of table sugar, fructose or glucose for instance, are added to foods and drinks by manufacturers, cooks and consumers themselves, and are naturally present in substances like honey and fruit juices. The UN agency pointed out that much of the so-called free sugars we consume today are "hidden" in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweet, like ketchup, which contains a full teaspoon of the sugar in each tablespoon. . . more
Wed, 04 Mar 2015 09:25:22 -0500
"There is no reason to be suffering from anything right now if you have access to this guy right here...I literally can't talk highly enough about how much I think you are really doing good stuff in the world." -- Jack Canfield, multiple New York Times number one best-selling author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, talking about Dr. Jim Roach,... . . more
LONDON (AP) Put down the donut. And while you're at it, skip the breakfast cereal, fruit juice, beer and ketchup. . . more
(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a second major challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare law on Wednesday, focusing on the issue of tax subsidies available through insurance exchanges set up under the statute. Here is a look at the exchanges and subsidies. HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGES The Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, requires people who do not get health insurance through their employer, or the government programs Medicare and Medicaid to buy their own insurance. To make that easier, it created health insurance exchanges, which are centralized online marketplaces that allow consumers to shop among competing insurance plans. . . more
Adults only get flu twice a decade on average, scientists have found, suggesting that most of the coughs and colds that keep millions of people off work every year are down to other bugs. In childhood and adolescence, it's much more common, possibly because we mix more with other people," said Steven Riley of Imperial College London, who worked on the research. The team analyzed blood samples from volunteers in Southern China, looking at antibody levels against nine different flu strains that circulated from 1968 to 2009. They found that while children get flu on average every other year, flu infections became less frequent with age. . . more
By Sabina Zawadzki COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Bavarian Nordic has struck a prostate cancer drug deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb that could be worth $1 billion should its trials, part of a new field in cancer treatment, be successful. The agreement gives the U.S. company an exclusive option to license Bavarian's Prostvac drug, an immunotherapy treatment that helps the body's own immune cells fight tumors. Immunotherapy for cancer is a rapidly evolving field which promises better and longer-lasting treatments, although oncology experts warn financial costs are high. Under the deal, Bavarian Nordic stands to receive up to $975 million, including $60 million it will get upfront, if it passes trials and sales milestones, and could also receive royalties. . . more
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Bavarian Nordic expects the full results of its Phase III trials for prostate cancer drug Prostvac by early 2017, Chief Executive Paul Chaplin said after the Danish firm struck a $1 billion supply deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb. "We're looking at late 2016, early 2017 based on potential full data readout," he said when asked when the results could come. "There are pre-interim analyses that have been agreed with the FDA (U.S. Food and Drugs Administration). ... . . more

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