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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Today's Globe: stem cell research, Caritas change, tainted fish food, off-label stents, anemia drug

As part of its newly announced commitment to biotechnology and stem cell research, the Patrick administration plans to revamp the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, a little-known state agency that was enveloped in controversy during the waning days of Governor Mitt Romney's tenure.

Scientists praised Governor Deval Patrick's proposed $1 billion investment in the state's life sciences industry yesterday as an important way to offset stagnant funding from the federal government and its limits on paying for research involving human embryonic stem cells.

"It is essential that the Commonwealth step up to maintain and extend our global leadership in the life sciences," Governor Deval Patrick and Senate President Therese Murray write on the op-ed page.

Caritas Christi Health Care has replaced the acting chief of its physicians group following the discovery that the group overstated revenue by almost $10 million, a sign of continuing leadership turmoil in the Archdiocese of Boston's hospital network.

Farm-raised fish in an undisclosed number of states ate meal contaminated with an unapproved industrial chemical, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday, widening the scope of one of the nation's largest pet food recalls.

Drug-coated stents, mesh devices that help prop open clogged arteries, are used in off-label, or unapproved, ways about half the time in the United States, doubling the risk of a heart attack or death in some cases, studies show.

Two of the world's largest drug companies are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to doctors in return for giving their patients anemia medicines, which regulators now say may be unsafe at commonly used doses.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 05:30 AM
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