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Health Highlights: Oct. 12, 2012

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Abraxane Approved as Lung Cancer Treatment

The drug Abraxane has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval as a primary treatment for non-small cell lung cancer, drug maker Celgene Corp. said Friday.

The approval is for the drug to be used in combination with the chemotherapy drug carboplatin for patients who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy, the Associated Press reported.

Abraxane was approved in 2005 as a secondary treatment for breast cancer, and Celgene is trying to expand its approved uses.

The company said earlier this month that the drug slowed the progression of melanoma skin cancer in a late-stage clinical trial. It's expected that before the end of the year, Celgene will also report data from a clinical trial of Abraxane in pancreatic cancer patients, the AP reported.

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Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Mangoes is Over: CDC

A total of 127 people in 15 states were sickened in a salmonella infection linked to mangoes imported from Mexico, according to the final update on the investigation issued Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thirty-three people were hospitalized, but no deaths were reported.

A collaborative investigation by federal, state and local officials concluded that mangoes from Agricola Daniella of Sinaloa, Mexico were the source of the salmonella outbreak, which appears to be over.

As a result of the investigation's findings, Agricola Daniella mangoes will not be allowed into the U.S. unless the importer shows they are not contaminated with salmonella, the CDC said.

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NYC Circumcision Rule Challenged in Lawsuit

A lawsuit filed with a federal court seeks to block enforcement of a New York City regulation regarding an ancient Jewish circumcision ritual which city health officials say can spread infection and has killed two children since 2004.

During the ritual, the circumcision provider attempts to cleanse the wound by sucking blood from the cut and spitting it aside, the Associated Press reported.

The new law requires people performing the ritual to inform parents that the city believes the procedure is dangerous and to have the parents sign a consent form. The city would not collect the forms, which would have to be kept for a year before being destroyed.

In their lawsuit, three rabbis and three Jewish groups contend that city health officials exaggerated the potential for harm and infringed on their religious freedom. In responding to the legal action, city health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley issued a statement calling the new rule "lawful, appropriate and necessary." the AP reported.

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Oakland Sues U.S. Government to Stop Closure of Medical Marijuana Dispensary

The federal government's attempt to seize property leased to the largest medical marijuana supplier in the United States is being challenged by the City of Oakland.

The city on Wednesday filed a civil lawsuit in federal court to block the Department of Justice from seizing the property housing the nonprofit Harborside Health Center dispensary, The New York Times reported.

The dispensary employs 100 people and serves 112,000 clients, seeing 600 to 800 customers a day. Last year, Harborside paid $3.5 million taxes, including $1.1 million to the city.

"This lawsuit is about protecting the rights of legitimate medical patients," city attorney Barbara Parker said in a statement, The Times reported. "I am deeply dismayed that the federal government would seek to deny these rights and deprive thousands of seriously ill Californians of access to safe, affordable and effective medicine."

Federal prosecutors have boosted their efforts to close medical marijuana dispensaries in California. Oakland is the first city to file a lawsuit to protect a dispensary.


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