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Researchers find key to chemotherapy resistance in lung cancer patients

BY Alaric DeArment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Researchers in Arizona have found a way to predict which patients might be resistant to first-line chemotherapy in the treatment of small-cell lung cancer, calling their findings a breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer.

Of the 32,000 cases of SCLC patients diagnosed each year in the United States, between 15% and 30% are resistant to the treatment, a condition known as chemoresistance.

The researchers, at TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare looked at tumor microRNAs, molecules that regulate gene expression in the process of making proteins and directing the structure and function of cells, a process that usually prevents cancer, finding three that appeared to predict which patients would be chemoresistant. The researchers hope the findings will go toward developing better clinical drug trials.

“For patients with small-cell lung cancer, there are really only about two chemotherapy options,” researcher Glen Weiss said in a statement. “We need to be more precise with our treatments and identify who is going to be resistant up front in order to design better clinical trials that will identify effective therapies for these at-risk patients.”

The researchers plan to present their findings at a joint conference of the American Association for Cancer Research and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer in San Diego.

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Bayer with an easy-to-open cap

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Bayer has introduced its own easy grip cap for arthritis users, diabetics or people with carpal tunnel.

And with the low-dose 81-mg aspirin for the prevention of a second heart attack or stroke, disease states that still skew older than younger, the new caps ought to be well received among Bayer’s low-dose aspirin core users.

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CVS Caremark reports 15% quarterly dividend

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark announced on Tuesday that its board of directors has approved an increase in its quarterly dividend of approximately 15%, to 8.75 cents per share on the common stock.

The increase is payable Feb. 2, 2010, to holders of record on Jan. 22, 2010, and translates into an annual rate of 35 cents per share, up 4.5 cents per share from the previous rate of 30.5 cents.

“An annual review of our dividend is an essential component of our company’s capital allocation strategy, and I’m pleased to note that this marks our seventh consecutive year of dividend increases,” stated Dave Denton, EVP and CFO. “This considerable increase reflects our continued strong financial performance, our optimism with respect to future growth and our significant cash generation capabilities. It also reflects our ongoing commitment to enhancing total returns for our shareholders.”

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