Monday, December 11, 2017
News Roundup

Q&A: Q&A:

Expressway marked for barriers

In the median strip of the Suncoast Expressway is a paved strip about 30 inches wide that contains white spots spaced about 48 inches apart. This paved strip continues for miles along the road. What's up with that?

Christa Deason, public information officer for Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, said, "This project is drawing lots of attention from motorists — a couple of them have even stopped by our office here in Orlando to ask about it. It is part of the $18.5 million resurfacing and safety enhancements under way in Pasco County.

"The asphalt ribbon will eventually hold four-strand, high-tension cable barrier. The markings are where the posts that hold the cable will go into the ground. This cable barrier installation is designed to aid in catching and preventing vehicles from crossing the center median into oncoming traffic, but is also very effective when used near canals or ponds.

"Your readers will be interested to know that within the next couple of months, we will begin resurfacing the Suncoast Parkway in Hernando County, and will include cable barrier installation as part of that project as well," Deason added.

Cancer drug available soon

I heard recently that the FDA approved a late-stage breast cancer drug. What is the name of this drug and what relief does it give a breast cancer patient? Also, can a patient be prescribed this drug now?

Kadcyla, known as T-DM1 during clinical research, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in February and is described as a "a new therapy for patients with HER2-positive, late-stage (metastatic) breast cancer." Genentech, which developed Kadcyla, said it would be available "within days," and that it would cost about $9,800 a month, or $94,000 during the course of treatment, according to the New York Times.

"Kadcyla delivers the drug to the cancer site to shrink the tumor, slow disease progression and prolong survival. It is the fourth approved drug that targets the HER2 protein," Richard Pazdur, director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a release. It "extended the median survival of women with advanced breast cancer by nearly half a year in a clinical trial," according to the Times.

The severe side effects include liver toxicity, heart toxicity, serious birth defects or fetal death. Lesser side effects include nausea, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headaches and constipation.

Twice-daily mail ended in 1950

When did the post office stop twice-a-day deliveries?

The U.S. Post Office stopped delivering mail twice a day in 1950 to save money. The USPS recently announced it was stopping Saturday mail delivery, starting in August.

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