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This Week in the New England Journal of Medicine


Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine this week look at adding bevacizumab, better known as Avastin, to ovarian cancer therapies. Bevacizumab is used to treat other cancers, including colorectal and lung. In the first article, Fox Chase Cancer Center's Robert Burger and his colleagues found that the addition of bevacizumab to chemotherapy led to an increase in progression-free survival. "Our study shows that bevacizumab plus carboplatin and paclitaxel, followed by bevacizumab, could be considered a front-line treatment option for patients with advanced ovarian cancer," the authors write.

In the second article, St. James's University Hospital's Timothy Perren and his team report on a phase three trial of bevacizumab for ovarian cancer. They say that "the overall magnitude of the benefit with respect to progression-free survival was relatively modest after the addition of bevacizumab to platinum-based chemotherapy and maintenance bevacizumab for the 12-cycle extension after chemotherapy was completed."

Finally, researchers led by Catherine Wu at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute sequenced leukemia cells from 91 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. As they report in the New England Journal of Medicine this week, they found that nine genes are commonly mutated in CLL cells. One of those genes, SF3B1, is involved in the spliceosome and may contribute to further splicing errors.

The Scan

CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

CNN reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern."

From FDA to Venture Capital

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn is taking a position at a venture capital firm, leading some ethicists to raise eyebrows, according to the Washington Post.

Consent Questions

Nature News writes that there are questions whether informed consent was obtained for some submissions to a database of Y-chromosome profiles.

Cell Studies on Multimodal Single-Cell Analysis, Coronaviruses in Bats, Urban Microbiomes

In Cell this week: approach to analyze multimodal single-cell genomic data, analysis of bat coronaviruses, and more.