FDA OKs cancer therapy to treat multiple sclerosis

Herald staff

SEATTLE — Immunex Corp. gained approval for doctors to use a cancer drug as the first treatment for people with crippling late-stage multiple sclerosis.

The Food and Drug Administration approved mitoxantrone, to be sold under the name Novantrone, for patients with the secondary progressive form of the disease. In these patients, the drug reduced the frequency of flare-ups and slowed the progression of disability. The FDA warned, however, that some patients using the drug can develop serious heart problems, a risk that increases with the cumulative doses.

  • Friday’s prices: Gold sold for $273.25 a troy ounce, silver for $4.935 and platinum for $591.30.

  • Dell laptop batteries: Dell Computer Corp. recalled 27,000 notebook computer batteries Friday, saying they could short-circuit and catch fire. The latest recall involves only certain Sanyo Electric batteries, not the computers. Customers should call Dell or visit www.support.dell.com/battery.

  • Infant seats: Century Products Co. recalled 4 million infant car seats Friday because they have defective handles that can break and cause serious injury to babies. Century is providing free replacement handles to consumers who call the company’s toll-free hotline at 800-865-1419.

  • Airwaves getting crowded: The promise of new generations of handheld devices and phones that receive high-speed video and data is bumping up against limits imposed by overcrowded airwaves. To ease the congestion, President Clinton directed federal agencies Friday to determine whether existing government, including the military, and commercial users can be relocated from these frequencies so they can be used to offer new wireless services worldwide.
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