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The Final Word


FDA has officially rescinded Avastin's status as a breast cancer treatment, reports The New York Times' Andrew Pollack. Following the recommendation of an advisory panel — which said this summer that Avastin should no longer be prescribed to treat breast cancer — FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says Avastin hasn't been shown to be effective enough in breast cancer patients to justify its continued use for that purpose. Hamburg noted the increased risk of potentially dangerous side effects like severe high blood pressure for women who take Avastin, and said the therapeutic effect was not high enough in breast cancer patients to justify that risk. Avastin is still approved to use to treat other types of cancer like lung and colorectal cancer, and some doctors may continue to use it off-label as a breast cancer therapy, Pollack says. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has also said that it will continue to pay for patients to take the drug as a breast cancer treatment, he adds.

The Scan

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.