Trending News Today: Lymphoma Immunotherapy Technique Shows Promise

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals is looking to ease its debt load by selling a large stomach-drug business for approximately $10 billion to Takeda Pharmaceutical. According to The Wall Street Journal, the 2 companies are in advanced talks and could reach a deal for Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd in the coming weeks. Valeant purchased Salix last year for roughly $11 billion, the Journal reported. The potential purchase price would include approximately $8.5 billion in cash and future royalty payments to Valeant.

Draft guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force has urged pediatricians and other clinicians to do routine weight screenings for all children age 6 and older to help curb childhood obesity, reported the Los Angeles Times. The guidelines recommend that health care professionals check the body mass index of children and adolescents in order to identify who could benefit from weight counseling programs. In fact, these comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions have been shown to help change the trajectory of weight gain and reduce their odds of a lifetime of obesity, the LA Times reported. The larger goal of this screening is to help cut back the number of obese children that become obese adults, since nearly 80% of them are on track to be obese when they are adults. Researchers noted that these proposed guidelines will not be the fix-all for this issue, and that even the best programs have only resulted in a moderate benefit; however, the downside risks of screening are small to none.

An early-stage clinical trial of CAR T cell therapy in patients with leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, shows promise for the future of T cell immunotherapy, reported The Washington Post. A trial conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Researcher Center in Seattle tested the experimental T cell therapy, which involves the removal of immune cells genetically engineered to attack cancer, and then reinfusing them back into the patient. Last week, one non-Hodgkin lymphoma patient involved in the study, Suzanne McCarroll, had test results that showed she was in remission and could go back home. McCarroll is one of the first patients to be treated at the center’s new outpatient clinic, which is the only stand-alone immunotherapy clinic that primarily focuses on using engineered T cells using a strategy pioneered to increase the T cells’ cancer-fighting ability. The clinic is scheduled to officially open in December.