02-07-2023  12:04 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Arrest Made in Stolen Yacht Rescue, 'Goonies' Fish Incident

Oregon police called it a series of “really odd” events along the Pacific Northwest coast spanning 48 hours that concluded Friday night with the arrest of a Canadian man.

Portland Cop Fired for Leaking False Allegations Against City Commissioner Reinstated

Mayor Ted Wheeler fired Brian Hunzeker after he leaked a false complaint saying city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty had been involved in a hit-and-run crash.

Hundreds of Portland City Workers on Strike for Better Pay

Workers represented by the union Laborers’ Local 483 have been without a contract since June. Negotiations over a new four-year deal broke down in December

Washington State Gov. Inslee Tests Positive for COVID-19

He plans to continue working. Trudi Inslee, the first spouse, has tested negative.

NEWS BRIEFS

Allen Temple C.M.E. Church Announces Annual Unsung Heroes & Heroines Award Luncheon

The purpose of the award is to acknowledge and honor individuals and/or organizations who are unsung heroes/heroines who make a...

Bonamici Invites Portland Community College President to 2023 State of the Union

PCC recently received 0K to advance semiconductor, advanced manufacturing training ...

Market Features Work of Local Black-Owned Businesses for Black History Month

MESO Makers Market in Portland to feature the work of 40 local, Black-owned small businesses to celebrate Black History Month in...

The Seattle Public Library's Homework Help Program Expands to Eight Locations and Increases Hours

Homework Help, The Seattle Public Library’s free after school tutoring service, will add two locations and increase hours in...

County Seeks Community Needs Survey Responses From Residents

Clark County Community Services is asking residents who are low-income to complete a survey to help determine what resources and...

1 missing, 2 rescued from crab boat off Washington coast

RAYMOND, Wash. (AP) — A crew member remains missing and two others were rescued from crab boat that sank near Willapa Bay in southwest Washington on Sunday evening, according to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard on Twitter posted a video and said a helicopter crew from Astoria,...

Proposed bill would pay incarcerated workers minimum wage

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state lawmaker who has spent time in prison wants the state to pay incarcerated workers minimum wage for doing their jobs. State Rep. Tarra Simmons, D-Bremerton, is sponsoring House Bill 1024, called the “Real Labor, Real Wages Act,” to raise...

Jones scores 18, Southern Illinois tops Missouri State 73-53

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Lance Jones' 18 points helped Southern Illinois defeat Missouri State 73-53 on Sunday. Jones also added four steals for the Salukis (18-7, 10-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Troy D'Amico shot 5 of 6 from the field and 4 for 4 from the line to add 15 points....

DeVries and Drake earn 85-82 2OT win over Valparaiso

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Tucker DeVries scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Drake beat Valparaiso 85-82 in double overtime on Saturday night. Roman Penn scored 16 points and added 12 rebounds and six assists for the Bulldogs (19-6, 10-4 Missouri Valley...

OPINION

Updates That May Affect Your Tax Season

The IRS released a statement that taxpayers should brace themselves for small tax refunds due to no economic impact payments ...

Unaffordable Rental Costs Now Plague 44 Million People in Every State Economic Inequality Places Most Risk of Eviction on Blacks and the Poor

For the first time in more than two decades of research, every state now has renters who are nearing a financial breaking point in housing affordability. ...

The Beating and Murder of Mr. Tyre Nichols, A Black Man

Time to Abolish the Criminal Injustice System ...

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Arkansas Gov. Sanders to offer State of the Union rebuttal

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, once a White House press secretary for President Donald Trump, is set to return to the national stage when she delivers the GOP response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. Sanders, 40, is giving the...

State of the Union? Congress doesn't fully reflect diversity

WASHINGTON (AP) — When lawmakers gather for President Joe Biden's State of the Union address, the Republican side of the aisle will look slightly different than it did a few years ago. Rather than row after row of white men in suits, the House Republican majority increasingly has...

Missouri governor denies clemency for man facing execution

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Monday he will not grant clemency and halt the execution of Raheem Taylor, who faces lethal injection for the deaths of his girlfriend and her three children. Taylor, 58, is scheduled to be put to death Tuesday evening at the state...

ENTERTAINMENT

List of Grammy winners in top categories

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Winners Sunday in the top categories at the 65th Grammy Awards: — Album of the year: “Harry’s House,” Harry Styles — Record of the year: “About Damn Time,” Lizzo — Song of the year (songwriter’s award): “Just Like...

Viola Davis' Grammy win for audiobook makes her an EGOT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Viola Davis has achieved EGOT status. The actor won a Grammy Award Sunday for best audio book, narration, and storytelling recording for her memoir “Finding Me.” “I just EGOT!” she shouted from the stage as she accepted the trophy, using the...

Grammys 2023 live updates: Latest news from red carpet, show

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Follow along for real-time, on-the-carpet and behind-the-scenes updates on the 2023 Grammy Awards from The Associated Press. Live updates — any times Pacific — are brought to you by AP journalists at the show in Los Angeles and around the country. ___ ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

The Grammys ended in controversy, again. Here’s what to know

NEW YORK (AP) — A night in music brimming with shocking upsets, historic wins, tributes for artists like the...

What to Watch: New political vibes this State of the Union

WASHINGTON (AP) — Look for new faces and fresh political dynamics as President Joe Biden delivers this year's...

Lucky player in Washington wins 7 million Powerball prize

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Someone in Washington state overcame steep odds Monday night to win an estimated 7...

EU Parliament planning for possible Zelenksyy visit in days

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's legislature was preparing plans Monday to host Volodymyr Zelenskyy should...

India's aircraft carriers key to Indo-Pacific strategy

NEW DELHI (AP) — India is preparing to relaunch its INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier after a major refit, a...

Hong Kong transgender men win appeal over status change

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s top court ruled Monday that full sex reassignment surgery should not be a...

Matthew Perrone AP Health Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal health authorities recommended Thursday that the blockbuster drug Avastin no longer be used to treat breast cancer, saying recent studies failed to show the drug's original promise to help slow the disease and extend patients' lives.

The rare decision by the Food and Drug Administration is supported by many cancer experts but drew fierce opposition from cancer patients and some doctors who defend the drug and say it should remain available.

The ruling is a significant setback for the world's best-selling cancer drug and will likely cost Swiss drugmaker Roche hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. Avastin is also approved for various types of colon, lung, kidney and brain cancer.

FDA officials stressed that the recommendation is only a preliminary step toward revoking the drug's approval for breast cancer. Roche has refused to voluntarily withdraw the indication, and the company said in a statement it would request a public meeting on the issue.

Drug companies almost always follow FDA requests, and agency officials said a meeting over the fate of Avastin would be the first of its kind. The agency said it will consider whether to hold the meeting in the coming months.

"Today's decision was a difficult one for the agency but certainly not unique," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of FDA's drug center. "The FDA is responsible for assuring that the products we approve for patients are both effective and safe."

The FDA approved Avastin for breast cancer in 2008 based on one study suggesting it halted the spread of breast cancer for more than five months when combined with chemotherapy. But follow-up studies showed that the delay lasted no more than three months, and patients suffered dangerous side effects.

"Given the number of serious and life-threatening side effects, the FDA does not believe there is a favorable risk-to-benefit ratio," said Dr. Richard Pazdur, FDA's chief of cancer drug review.

In a separate announcement Thursday, the European Medicines Agency said it would keep the drug available as a combination treatment with the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel - the same use rejected by the FDA.

FDA officials said the split opinion was due to differences in how Avastin was approved in the U.S. versus Europe. The FDA cleared the drug under its accelerated approval program, giving the agency the option to rescind approval if follow-up studies didn't confirm initial results. European regulators granted the drug full approval based on the same results, making it more difficult to reverse course when faced with weaker follow-up results.

If the FDA ultimately removes Avastin's breast cancer indication, doctors will still have the option to prescribe the drug "off-label," or without a federal approval, but many insurers do not reimburse drugs for such uses. Without insurance coverage, Avastin's enormous cost would put it out of reach for most patients. Roche sells the drug at a wholesale price of $7,700 a month. When infusion charges are included, a year's treatment with Avastin can run more than $100,000, though Roche caps spending at $57,000 per year for patients who meet certain financial criteria.

For the time being, the FDA said the drug will remain available and patient care will not be affected.

While vigorously opposed by thousands of cancer patients, the FDA's ruling is in line with the guidance of its outside panel of cancer experts, who voted 12-1 in July to rescind the drug's approval for breast cancer.

Cancer specialists said Avastin never lived up to its initial promise.

"The bottom line is that it doesn't work very well," said Dr. Albert Braverman, chief of oncology at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. "I've seen the occasional patient have a brief remission, which is nice, but it's certainly not doing anything important. It's not saving anyone's life."

But some patients credit their survival to Avastin and say the FDA's decision could amount to a death sentence.

Christi Turnage of Madison, Miss., said her cancer has been undetectable for more than two years since starting therapy with Avastin. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2006 and began taking the drug in 2008 after the tumors spread, or metastized, to her lungs. Breast cancer that spreads to other parts of the body is generally considered incurable.

"It's a miracle drug for me and for several of my friends, and to deny it to women being diagnosed with metastatic disease is wrong," Turnage said.

More than 9,500 cancer patients and friends and family signed a petition by Turnage urging the FDA to keep Avastin approved.

Dr. Julie Gralow of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance said the drug appears to work in some subsets of patients and should remain available.

"It is clear that some breast cancer patients derive substantial benefit from Avastin. We don't know how to select those tumors or patients yet," said Gralow, who helped conduct the initial study of Avastin in breast cancer.

Barbara Brenner, director of Breast Cancer Action, a San Francisco-based advocacy group, said the group agrees with FDA's decision.

"It's never been shown to improve survival or quality of life. We know that people will be disappointed, but science has to dictate where we go with drug approval," Brenner said.

She added that women already receiving the drug should be allowed to keep getting it.

Roche reported Avastin sales of nearly $6 billion in 2009.

FDA rules bar the agency from considering cost when making drug approval decisions. But earlier this month the U.K.'s public health service rejected the drug for breast cancer, citing its high cost and limited benefit.

U.S. sales of Avastin for breast cancer generate an estimated $600 million annually, according to analyst David Kaegi of Switzerland's Bank Sarasin. When combined with lost revenue from the U.K., Kaegi estimated Roche's Avastin sales could fall by $1 billion.

The FDA granted Avastin accelerated approval for breast cancer in 2008 based on a study suggesting it delayed the spread of breast cancer for more than five months when combined with a popular chemotherapy drug. However, patients taking the drug did not actually live longer than those taking chemotherapy alone. And FDA officials reiterated Thursday that all four studies of Avastin conducted by Roche failed to show increased survival.

Avastin, which is grown from hamster ovary cells, was the first drug approved to fight cancer by stopping nutrients from reaching tumors. Such "targeted therapies" were thought to hold promise for eliminating chemotherapy, but that promise has gone unmet. Today drugs like Avastin are generally used as a second-line treatment after chemotherapy.

"I think a few years down the line it was becoming increasingly clear, at least to me, that this wasn't a particularly active drug, despite the initial presentation," said Dr. Braverman, referring to Avastin for breast cancer. "But people are sort of on a roll and it takes a while for things to die down."

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AP Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione contributed to this report from Milwaukee.

MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.