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Exclusive: Germany permits sale of Northwest Bio brain cancer drug
10 Mar 2014 | 6:49 am
German health regulators have granted Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc special permission to sell its experimental brain cancer drug, DCVax-L, in the country, even though the small U.S. biotechnology company has not yet completed its late-stage trial of the immunotherapy. The special "hospital exemption" in Germany would allow Northwest to sell DCVax-L for five years, and to seek renewed approval afterward, Northwest Biotherapeutics Chief Executive Officer Linda Powers said in an interview. The company has not yet requested or received formal marketing approval for its product. The exemption allows Northwest to sell DCVax-L through hospitals and their outpatient clinics to patients with all severities of cancer that begin the brain, even though it is only being tested in patients newly diagnosed with the most severe form of the disease, called Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
Syrian forces committing war crimes in Yarmouk siege: Amnesty
10 Mar 2014 | 6:40 am
Amnesty International accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces on Monday of perpetrating war crimes as part of a siege in southern Damascus which has killed nearly 200 people, mostly by starvation. Yarmouk, once home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and Syrian nationals, is one of several districts on the edge of the Syrian capital which the army has surrounded to choke off rebel forces seeking Assad's overthrow. "The Syrian government has committed numerous war crimes as part of the siege of Yarmouk," Amnesty said in a report released on Monday.
Proteus picks UK for 'smart pill' production and testing
10 Mar 2014 | 6:36 am
Privately held Proteus Digital Health, which is working with drugmakers including Novartis and Otsuka, said on Monday the new site would employ some 200 skilled staff and serve as a hub for the emerging digital medicine industry. The move was welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said it showed Britain's ability to attract high-tech companies. Proteus already has European and U.S. approval for its "smart pill" technology system, in which a tiny sensor is embedded in a tablet and linked to a patch worn on the patient's abdomen. Several teams within Britain's state-run National Health Service plan to test the benefits of using the sensor technology in various fields, including in treating hypertension, or high blood pressure.
The children of Japan's Fukushima battle an invisible enemy
10 Mar 2014 | 6:05 am
By Toru Hanai and Elaine Lies KORIYAMA, Japan (Reuters) - Some of the smallest children in Koriyama, a short drive from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, barely know what it's like to play outside - fear of radiation has kept them indoors for much of their short lives. Though the strict safety limits for outdoor activity set after multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in 2011 have now been eased, parental worries and ingrained habit mean many children still stay inside. And the impact, three years on, is now starting to show, with children experiencing falling strength, lack of coordination - some cannot even ride a bicycle - and emotional issues like shorter tempers, officials and educators say. "There are children who are very fearful.
Heroin overdoses pose 'urgent public health crisis': U.S. attorney general
10 Mar 2014 | 5:06 am
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said his agency was stepping up efforts to stem sharp increases in deadly heroin overdoses, trafficking in the drug and abuse of prescription narcotics at the root of what he called an "urgent public health crisis." As part of that campaign, Holder reiterated the Obama administration's call for more law enforcement agencies to train and equip personnel with an overdose-reversal medication called naloxone. The director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy issued a similar plea to police and fire departments last month. Holder said 17 states and the District of Columbia have amended their laws to increase access to naloxone, a blocking agent that can reverse the effects of an overdose and help restore breathing. Still, fatal heroin overdoses have increased 45 percent from 2006 to 2010, with 3,038 such deaths reported that year, and the numbers are believed to still be on the rise, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
FACTBOX-U.S. SEC suffers string of losses in the courtroom
10 Mar 2014 | 12:07 am
By Aruna Viswanatha and Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has suffered a string of recent losses in the courtroom, dragging down what had been a consistently high trial success rate. Since the start of the SEC's fiscal year on October 1, the agency's win rate has dropped to 58 percent, from about 80 percent in recent years. Below are 12 trials that have produced a verdict or ruling since October 1. 1. ...
California Democrats, eye on election, adopt activist agenda
9 Mar 2014 | 9:39 pm
By Sharon Bernstein LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Democrats wrapped up their annual convention on Sunday with an appeal to their progressive base even as leaders vowed to stay on a centrist path that has won wide popularity for Governor Jerry Brown and firm control over the state legislature. Facing the 2014 election season flush with a formidable political advantage in the most populous U.S. state, Democrats used the two-day gathering in Los Angeles to showcase their successes in California and to draw a contrast with partisan gridlock in Washington. They cited California's improving economy and a newly exerted fiscal discipline that has allowed Brown to pay down the state's debt as proof of Democrats' ability to govern effectively. "We took a state that seemed to be a punch line for a national joke, and we made it a how-to guide for national governments," incoming state Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins told the crowd.
Save the Children describes healthcare disaster in Syria
9 Mar 2014 | 5:41 pm
Newborns freezing to death in hospital incubators, doctors cutting off limbs to stop patients from bleeding to death, surging cases of polio: a new report published on Monday paints a dire picture of Syria's collapsing healthcare system. The report, issued by charity Save the Children, said some 60 percent of Syria's hospitals have been damaged or destroyed since the start of the three-year-old conflict and nearly half of its doctors have fled the country. Over 140,000 people have died in the war, which started as a peaceful protest movement against President Bashar al-Assad and degenerated into civil conflict fuelled by regional and international rivalries. In its report, Save the Children described the fallout from the collapse of the medical system as "horrific," as remaining hospitals and medical staff struggle to treat hundreds of thousands of people wounded by the fighting.
U.S. judge says RBC liable in Rural/Metro buyout case
9 Mar 2014 | 3:06 pm
A Delaware judge said Royal Bank of Canada should be held liable to former shareholders of Rural/Metro Corp because it failed to disclose conflicts of interest that tainted the $438 million buyout of the ambulance operator. Bankers at RBC Capital Markets were so eager to collect higher fees that they convinced Rural/Metro directors to sell the company in June 2011 to private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC at an unreasonably low $17.25 per share, wrote Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster of the Delaware Chancery Court. Former Rural/Metro Corp shareholders are seeking about $172 million from Toronto-based RBC, representing the difference between the buyout price and what they believe the company was worth, according to published reports.
Police arrest 52 after Massachusetts college party turns violent
9 Mar 2014 | 2:35 pm
Police in Massachusetts arrested a total of 52 people after nearly a dozen more were taken into custody early on Sunday as a pre-St. Patrick's Day party turned violent, with officers in riot gear sparring with revelers in skirmishes that lasted nearly 24 hours. The Amherst Police Department said officers brought the situation under control and made final arrests around 4 a.m. EDT Sunday. "The party had become dangerous and out of control," a police spokesman said. "As officers began to disperse the crowd, they were again met with glass bottles, full beer cans, rocks and snowballs being thrown at them." The gathering, traditionally held the last Saturday before Spring Break, brought thousands of students from campus onto surrounding streets, Amherst police said.
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