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A Surprise


Novartis' kidney cancer drug Afinitor has been shown to prevent the progression of breast cancer in a new study, reports Bloomberg's Simeon Bennett. The trial showed that Afinitor more than doubled, to 6.9 months, the time to progression in women whose breast tumors had spread after treatment, compared to 2.8 months in women who took Pfizer's breast cancer drug Aromasin, Bennett says. The trial, which Novartis plans to use in applying for regulatory approval for a breast cancer indication for Afinitor, was presented at a cancer conference in Stockholm this week. Analysts say that European regulators are likely to approve the new indication based on the study's results, though the FDA may want to see longer-term breast cancer data before approval. "Afinitor, which is already approved in the US as a treatment for cancers of the kidney and pancreas, as well as non-cancerous brain tumors, blocks a protein called mTOR that some cancer cells require to grow and multiply," Bennett says. "Novartis is also testing the drug in patients with other types of breast cancer, as well as lymphoma and stomach and liver cancer."

The Scan

US Supports Patent Waivers

NPR reports that the Biden Administration has announced its support for waiving intellectual property protections for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Vaccines Versus Variants

Two studies find the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to be effective against viral variants, and Moderna reports on booster shots to combat variants.

CRISPR for What Ails You

The Wall Street Journal writes that CRISPR-based therapies could someday be used to treat common conditions like heart attacks.

Nature Papers Review Integration of Single-Cell Assay Data, Present Approach to Detect Rare Variants

In Nature this week: review of ways to integrate data from single-cell assays, and more.