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US-HEALTH Summary

Sep 21, 2011, 9:37 p.m.

More questions arise about "life-extending" proteins

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Proteins that scientists once thought might hold the key to extending life in humans didn't seem to affect how long worms or fruit flies survive in a new study. But researchers said the proteins may still play a role in treating the diseases of aging, such as diabetes and Alzheimer's, so it's not time to give up hope on them yet.

Private insurance, better prostate surgery outcome?

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - U.S. men who have surgery for prostate cancer seem to fare better if they have private insurance rather than public coverage through Medicare or Medicaid, a new study finds. Researchers determined that among more than 61,000 men who had their prostates removed to treat cancer, those with private insurance had fewer complications from surgery and were less likely to die in the hospital.

VA halts Avastin use for eye disease

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said it has stopped using Roche's Avastin to treat a sight-robbing eye disease as it looks into reports of increased risk of infection. Roche's Lucentis is specifically approved to treat wet age-related macular degeneration -- the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. But its multibillion-dollar a year cancer drug Avastin, which works in a similar manner, is increasingly being used off-label to treat the disease because it costs a fraction of Lucentis when cut into the small doses needed for the eye disease.

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