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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FDA has officially rescinded Avastin's status as a breast cancer treatment, reports The New York Times' Andrew Pollack.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

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

TB Resistance Insights Gleaned From Genome Sequence, Antimicrobial Response Assays

Researchers in PLOS Biology explore M. tuberculosis resistance with a combination of sequencing and assays looking at the minimum inhibitory concentrations of 13 drugs.

Mendelian Disease Genes Prioritized Using Tissue-Specific Expression Clues

Mendelian gene candidates could be flagged for further functional analyses based on tissue-specific transcriptome and proteome profiles, a new Journal of Human Genetics paper says.

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.