DNA testing company 23andMe said it has the green light from the Food and Drug Administration to offer consumers a test for a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome. 23andMe said it will be able to tell customers whether they have two genetic variants that influence MUTYH-associated polyposis, a rare condition associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Hereditary colorectal cancers account for a minority of colorectal cancer cases, only about 5 percent, the company said.
Lifesaving cancer pump discontinued
A medical device that can add years to the lives of cancer patients is about to become unavailable because its manufacturer has decided to stop producing it. The device is implanted in the abdomen to pump high doses of chemotherapy directly into the liver for cancer that has spread there. The treatment can help prevent tumors from recurring after they are removed from the liver and can shrink inoperable growths in the liver so they can be cut out. Patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering who received the pump lived about two years longer than those who did not. The pumps, which cost from $7,000 to $11,000 each, are used along with chemotherapy that is dripped in through an intravenous line. The device maker — Cerenovus, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson — said it had decided to stop production “because of significant and multiple raw material supply constraints within the manufacturing process.” Medtronic makes a similar pump, but it is approved for use in the spine, not the liver.
Dose of vitamin D doesn’t matter
Low blood levels of vitamin D are tied to bone loss that can lead to falls and fractures. But taking vitamin D supplements in high doses showed no benefits over low-dose vitamin D, a randomized trial found. The study, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included 379 British men and women whose average age was 75. They were divided into three groups and given monthly doses of vitamin D, equivalent to 400, 800 and 1,600 IU a day; there was no placebo group. Blood levels of vitamin D increased in all three groups in proportion to the dosage. But there was no difference between the groups in changes in bone mineral density, number of falls or number of fractures caused by osteoporosis. It is possible that all three doses limited bone loss, but without a placebo group, that cannot be certain.