Positive Butterfly News, Immune Tweaking with CRISPR, and Looking to the Future in China

As I reported in a previous blog, not only does the herbicide Roundup cause lymphomas and myeloma, its widespread use on GMO (genetically modified organism) crops has decimated milkweed, an herbaceous perennial and the essential food for monarch butterflies. Since 1990, about 970 million monarchs have vanished.

Gene Editing, Regulating DNA Sequencing Tests, and How Your Body Gets Its Energy

Scientific breakthroughs in the news this week promise many practical implications for myeloma patients.

Saturated fat reconsidered, traces of herbicide in ice cream, and a curcumin success story

News about food is often a mix of conflicting advice and dubious claims. Three thought-provoking articles published this week caught my eye and offer plenty of food for thought.

A busy news week focuses on drug access and costs

Patent extensions upheld and revealed

On Monday, July 17th, a US appeals court ruled that a patent on Takeda Pharmaceutical’s drug Velcade® (bortezomib) was extended to 2022. Generic drug companies had sued to invalidate Takeda’s patents but failed. This means that there will be no generic competition before the 2022 date. This is obviously very good news for Takeda and eliminates hopes that cheaper generics would be available much sooner. Paradoxically, this will also benefit Amgen’s Kyprolis® (carfilzomib), the other major proteasome inhibitor, which would have faced much stiffer competition from a much lower priced generic.

CAR T-cell therapy wins expert panel approval for leukemia treatment: What does this mean for myeloma patients?

On Wednesday, an advisory panel convened by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted 10 to 0 to recommend the approval of CAR T-cell therapy for treatment of children and young adults with late-stage leukemia. Novartis’s CTL019 is a gene-altering treatment directed against the protein CD19 found on the leukemic B-cells. Wednesday’s unanimous endorsement paves the way for the first gene therapy to win FDA approval, which is expected in September.