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Johnson & Johnson’s Stock Falls After Reports Of Presence of Asbestos

The controversy has long dogged the company, which has been battling more than 10,000 cases claiming its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products cause ovarian cancer.

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Johnson & Johnson, asbestos
Bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder line a drugstore shelf in New York, Oct. 15, 2015. VOA

Johnson & Johnson saw its stocks suffer their biggest drop in 16 years, following a media report that alleged the company concealed for decades that trace amounts of asbestos was in its baby powder.

Shares of the U.S. pharmaceutical and cosmetics group fell 9 percent Friday, wiping out tens of billions of dollars from the company’s market capitalization.

Linked to ovarian cancer

The report Friday, by Reuters news service, cited documents released as part of a lawsuit by plaintiffs claiming that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder can be linked to ovarian cancer.

Ovarian Cancer, asbestos
The study found that genes on the X-chromosome get potentially passed down through the father to his daughter, thus increasing the risk of ovarian cancer in girls. Wikimedia Commons

It said that the company’s executives knew the baby powder contained trace amounts of asbestos, from as early as 1971, but deliberately chose not to make the information public.

The Reuters report also alleged that Johnson & Johnson tried, unsuccessfully, to stop regulators from lowering the maximum level of asbestos allowed in talc-based cosmetics.

Report is strongly denied

Johnson & Johnson strongly denied the report Friday, calling it “one-sided, false and inflammatory.”

asbestos
Toribio Jimenez lies on his bed in his basement bedroom of the home where he and 10 other people live in Nashville, Tenn, Sept. 3, 2009. Jimenez was given a job removing asbestos in the U.S. through the H2-B nonagricultural guest worker program. The job was not the job that was promised to him through the program, and after being fired, Jimenez said he now has no option but to work illegally so he can pay back the money he borrowed to make the trip to the U.S. VOA

“Simply put, the Reuters story is an absurd conspiracy theory,” the company said in a statement. “Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is safe and asbestos-free.”

The controversy has long dogged the company, which has been battling more than 10,000 cases claiming its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products cause ovarian cancer.

Also Read: Prenatal Interaction With Baby Important For Development

Investors worry the lawsuits will cost the company billions of dollars in damages and loss of future sales of Johnson & Johnson products. (VOA)

Next Story

With Ovarian Cancer Deaths Set to Spike by 67%, AI to Rescue: Study

However, the scans cannot give clinicians detailed insight into patients’ likely overall outcomes or on the likely effect of a therapeutic intervention

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

With the incidence of ovarian cancer likely to increase by 55 per cent in another 15 years or so, researchers have created an artificial intelligence (AI) software to help best treat ovarian cancer that will pave the way for personalised medicine and expedite relief, a new study says.

The mathematical software tool — TEXLab — can also predict what treatment might be most effective for patients with the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition predicting that deaths will likely increase by 67 per cent by 2035 due to this particular cancer.

The technology can be used to identify patients who are unlikely to respond to standard treatments and offer alternatives as ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women in the UK that usually strikes after menopause or those with a family history of the disease.

Early detection of the disease could improve survival rates, the study noted.

“Long-term survival rate for patients with advanced ovarian cancer is poor despite advancements in treatments. There is an urgent need for new ways,” said lead author Eric Aboagye, Professor at Imperial College London.

For the study, researchers used the software to identify the aggressiveness of tumours in CT scans and tissue samples from 364 women with ovarian cancer.

The patients were then given a score known as Radiomic Prognostic Vector (RPV) which indicates how severe the disease is, ranging from mild to severe.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

The findings, published in Nature Communications, showed that the software was up to four times more accurate for predicting deaths from ovarian cancer than standard methods.

In addition, five per cent of patients with high RPV scores had a survival rate of less than two years, results showed.

High RPV was also associated with chemotherapy resistance and poor surgical outcomes, suggesting that RPV can be used as a potential bio-marker to predict how patients would respond to treatments.

“Our technology is able to give clinicians more detailed and accurate information on how the patients are likely to respond to different treatments, which could enable them to make better and more targeted treatment decisions,” said Aboagye.

Also Read- AI Can Help Improve Understanding of Earth Science

Doctors as of now diagnose ovarian cancer in a number of ways, including a blood test followed by a CT scan that uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed pictures of the ovarian tumour.

This helps clinicians know how far the disease has spread and determines the type of treatment patients receive, such as surgery and chemotherapy.

However, the scans cannot give clinicians detailed insight into patients’ likely overall outcomes or on the likely effect of a therapeutic intervention. (IANS)