Short items

Government review on ’safe drug’

Cocaine is under scrutiny from the UK advisory council on the misuse of drugs (ACMD), that is publishing a significant review on the harms caused by the drug, to counter the misconception that it is ’safe’. The ACMD was delayed from launching the review last year, by requests for advice from the home secretary Theresa May on banning ’legal highs’. 
The Guardian, 11 April 2011 

Breast milk cancer predictor 

A mother’s breast milk could be used to predict whether she is at risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, US, tested the DNA of milk from 250 mothers, who had biopsies to check for breast cancer. They found that the women whose biopsies suggested they had cancer, also showed signs of the disease in their milk. 
Daily Mail, 5 April 2011 

Accused of illegal trading 

Cheng Yi Liang, a chemist working in the office of new drug quality assessment, at the US Food and Drug Administration, has been charged with illegally amassing $3.6 million (?2.2 million). It is alleged that he used his advance knowledge of the regulator’s product approval decisions to trade ahead of 27 announcements about drugs from 19 US companies. 
The Independent, 31 March 2011

Gene test for parents 

The Human Genetics Commission (HGC) has given ethical approval for DNA tests that can virtually eliminate parents’ chances of having a baby with an inherited disease. The tests reveal whether a couple share genetic mutations that can trigger disease in their children, and the HGC has indicated that there are no ethical, legal or social reasons why the NHS should not offer them routinely.   
The Times, 6 April 2011