Today’s Headlines: Cancer Drugs Kill Melanoma, Human Cloning, and Nurse Practitioners

New Medication May Help Fight Melanoma:  In a new study, researchers “combined Yervoy [ipilimumab] with a second experimental drug that hits a different target on T-cells allowing them to kill more cancer.” The drug combination “shrank tumors significantly in about 41% of patients with advanced melanoma in a small study.” For “52 patients … tumors disappeared completely, at least as could be determined by imaging.” The results of the research from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York are part of a transformative advance in harnessing the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells. (New York Times)

Researchers Clone Human Embryonic Stem Cells: “For the first time, scientists have created human embryos that are genetic copies of living people and used them to make stem cells – a feat that paves the way for treating a range of diseases with personalized body tissues but also ignites fears of human cloning.” Should the methods be “replicated in other labs,” they “would allow researchers to fashion human embryonic stem cells that are custom-made for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and other conditions.” (LA Times)

Physicians and Nurse Practitioners Disagree on Quality of NP Care:  A survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine “shows a huge gap between what nurse practitioners think they can and should do, and what doctors think.” The survey of 467 nurse practitioners and 505 physicians “found both groups agree that nurse practitioners should practice ‘to the full extent of their education and training,'” but “where the disconnect comes is just what this training should allow them to do.” The two groups disagreed that nurse practitioners and doctors should be paid equally for providing the same health services. More than 64% of nurse practitioners agreed with the idea of equal pay, as opposed to less than 4% of doctors. Also, two-thirds of physicians said if a doctor and nurse practitioner provided the same service, the doctor would “do it better.” Nurse practitioners in general did not agree with that. (NBC News)