medicine

Cancer-targeting treatment “steps on the gas” to kill tumors

Cancer-targeting treatment “steps on the gas” to kill tumors

Many have heard of immunosuppressive drugs, which are a type of medication that suppresses the immune system, but lesser-known are immunostimulatory drugs, which stimulate the body's immune system. The latter is a potential solution for treating cancerous tumors, as the drugs trigger the immune system to attack the mutated cells. The problem? Ordinarily, such drugs could also cause the immune system to become overstimulated, attacking healthy cells with serious -- sometimes deadly -- consequences.

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Terminally ill U.S. man gets a pig’s heart with a successful transplant

Terminally ill U.S. man gets a pig’s heart with a successful transplant

The organ donor crisis has long inspired the medical fraternity to look for feasible donors from other species. This week, doctors at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have successfully executed the world's first heterologous heart transplant, placing a genetically-modified pig's heart into a terminally ill human being. Note: This article contains imagery and descriptions of human and animal surgery and xenotransplantation. Some readers may find this content upsetting.

Image: Coryn/Shutterstock

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The Pfizer COVID Omicron Booster Is Already In Production

The Pfizer COVID Omicron Booster Is Already In Production

Pfizer has announced its Omicron COVID-19 booster is already in production as the variant has led to a massive increase in cases worldwide, accounting for as many as 95% of new cases in the US (via OHS).

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FDA Expands COVID Boosters To Younger Children

FDA Expands COVID Boosters To Younger Children

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken multiple actions to expand vaccine availability for children in an effort to combat the COVID-19 virus, including authorizing a booster dose for children. Two years into the pandemic and the world is once again experiencing another major surge in cases, this time driven by the Omicron variant. Omicron has a record number of mutations, compared with previous variants, with more than 30 of those mutations in the spike protein that helps it spread (via Scientific American).

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The new CDC COVID-19 isolation and quarantine rules are controversial

The new CDC COVID-19 isolation and quarantine rules are controversial

As we continue to move through the COVID-19 pandemic, our knowledge about the virus and how it spreads has been changing. This has led to guidance from agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that changes periodically. Now, the CDC has announced new quarantine guidelines for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 or who have contracted asymptomatic COVID-19, and it may leave some people scratching their heads.

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COVID-19 antiviral pill gets FDA authorization: Here’s the small print

COVID-19 antiviral pill gets FDA authorization: Here’s the small print

Pfizer's Paxlovid is the first oral COVID-19 treatment to get FDA authorization for use in the US. The health agency announced its decision today, noting that it is only available for certain patients. Though Paxlovid won't protect you from developing COVID-19, taking it early enough may prevent the infection from becoming severe.

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Moderna booster gets some Omicron good news

Moderna booster gets some Omicron good news

Moderna has published the latest data on its COVID-19 vaccine, reporting a drastic increase in antibody levels against the SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant compared to the pre-booster regimen. The findings are good news as omicron cases increase rapidly and many people get a booster shot to increase their protection again the virus.

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Pfizer’s early COVID vaccine trial data hints at bad news for some parents

Pfizer’s early COVID vaccine trial data hints at bad news for some parents

Pfizer and BioNTech, the companies behind one of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States, have announced plans to expand their trial involving kids in the youngest age groups. Going forward, the clinical study will add a third dose to the vaccine regimen for babies and young kids ages 6 months to 4 years of age. The reason, the company notes, was less than robust responses in participants given the two-dose series.

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CDC advisers recommend Pfizer, Moderna vaccines over Johnson & Johnson

CDC advisers recommend Pfizer, Moderna vaccines over Johnson & Johnson

When possible, advisers with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the public should choose Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines over the Johnson & Johnson version. The agency has published a lengthy presentation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting held on December 16 that includes a few dozen pages on the current data, risk-benefit analysis, and more. Among other things, the presentation includes details on a very rare potential side effect linked to nine deaths.

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Bottles of lidocaine sold for pain relief recalled over super potency

Bottles of lidocaine sold for pain relief recalled over super potency

Teligent Pharma has announced a new recall that impacts its Lidocaine HCl Topical Solution USP 4% anesthetic liquid sold in 50ml glass bottles. The reason, the company explains, is the potential for "super potency," meaning the bottles may contain more lidocaine than listed on the label. This, in turn, puts users at risk of toxicity.

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FDA and CDC green light Pfizer COVID-19 booster for older teenagers

FDA and CDC green light Pfizer COVID-19 booster for older teenagers

Teenagers ages 16 and 17 in the United States are now eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot, the US FDA and CDC have announced. The FDA revealed its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) expansion on December 9, noting that eligible teenagers must have received the primary vaccine doses at least six months prior to getting the booster dose.

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NYC private COVID-19 vaccine mandate sets precedent for rest of US

NYC private COVID-19 vaccine mandate sets precedent for rest of US

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a major new COVID-19 vaccine mandate that will cover the city's entire private sector. Under this mandate, anyone who works in the megacity will be required to show proof of vaccination, something de Blasio says will ensure "every employer is on a level playing field."

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