Breast Cancer Drug Approved

A drug to treat breast cancer received approval yesterday from the Food and Drug Administration, which went against the recommendation of its advisory panel.

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
—Daniel 12:4

Avastin is already approved for treating lung and colon cancer. The FDA gave preliminary approval to doctors’ use of the drug, made by Genentech, to treat breast cancer based on findings that it slowed tumor growth.

FDA approval for late-stage cancer treatments is usually contingent upon data showing that a drug extended patients’ lives or improved their quality. Avastin showed neither in a study, according to Genentech.

Cancer experts have long debated whether the slowing of tumor growth is as significant as survival rates in measuring a drug’s effectiveness.

Wall Street analysts think that the FDA’s Avastin decision opens the door for other cancer drugs to be approved for their tumor-shrinking capabilities.

Fines for Illegal Hiring to Rise

The federal government will raise by 25 percent the fines it levies against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, the first boost in nearly a decade, officials said.

The new maximum fine for multiple violations will increase to $16,000 per illegal hire, from $11,000 currently. The Justice Department also plans to add this year 50 new lawyers and 100 deputy U.S. marshals dedicated to border enforcement, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said.

Libya Criticizes Legislation

Libya’s ambassador to the United States said that legislation passed last month to compensate terrorism victims has soured relations and stalled business between the two countries.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) attached the provision to an Iraq war funding bill, expanding terrorism victims’ ability to collect damages from governments by having their assets frozen.

Libya faces billions of dollars in legal judgments over bombings that occurred in the 1980s.

Terror Case to Be Heard Soon

The Supreme Court decided to accelerate an appeal of a lower-court decision that granted terrorism detainees greater access to evidence that could be used to challenge their enemy-combatant status.

Both the government and attorneys for the detainees, who are being held at the military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have told the court that, if the case is to be heard, it should happen during the current term.

The court heard arguments in December in a separate case about whether Congress acted properly in removing court jurisdiction over the detainees’ habeas corpus rights.

The new case might be considered at the justices’ March 14 private conference.

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