Tuesday AM October 30th, 2007

UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center receives $4 million appropriation for inflammatory breast cancer research...FCC to throw out exclusive cable contracts with apartments and open up competition to phone companies...AT&T abandons plan for free wireless Internet service across St. Louis...

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has received a $4 million appropriation from the Texas Legislature for research into a rare, aggressive and often lethal type of breast cancer. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst helped secure the funding for inflammatory breast cancer.

"Cancer is scary. Any cancer is scary. But inflammatory breast cancer, in which a mammogram isn't gonna pick up, is reason enough to make an investment, and so we put in the Senate budget, and I asked the speaker to support it, and you've got $4 million."

Massimo Cristofanilli is associate professor of Breast Medical Oncology.

"This is a special aggressive type of breast cancer, quite different from the one that we are familiar with. It's a disease that present in a matter of a few weeks, usually it's spread pretty fast to the lymph node and other organs. And there is no current treatment that can cure most of these patients. The survival is 40 percent at five years, and we don't know the cause of this cancer--why it's so different—so these funds will be used to really create the infrastructure to research the cause of this cancer, develop better treatment and better diagnostics."

Dr. Cristofanilli says the funding will help set up a structure for research into inflammatory breast cancer.

"You need to create a critical mass that can deal with problems that comes with these patients, so we are to be able to collect tissues, serum, perform analysis and special tests, in order to better understand which are the changes in the proteins, in the DNA, that we can find in these patients in order to make a diagnosis. And then from there, try to develop better drugs for it."

M.D. Anderson President John Mendelsohn says the research program and clinic are being named for a patient who inspired the staff at the Nellie B. Connally Breast Center.

"Also today, we pay tribute to a patient—Morgan Welch—whose journey inspired all of us to continue to make a difference in the lives of inflammatory breast cancer patients."

This aggressive form of cancer afflicts just one to two percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States.

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is joining with California-based Accuray to begin a clinical study of treatments relating to early-stage operable lung cancer, according to the Houston Business Journal. Twelve-hundred patients will be randomly assigned to traditional surgery or CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery for treatment.


Federal regulators plan to throw out exclusive cable television service contracts with apartment buildings and open up competition to phone companies, according to a published report. The New York Times says the new rule, which could significantly lower cable prices for millions of subscribers who live in apartments, is expected to be approved Wednesday by the Federal Communciations Commission. The Times is citing an interview with the agency's chairman. Under FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's proposal, cable companies, such as Comcast and Time Warner, would no longer have exclusive deals with apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings to provide cable TV to building residents, who usually have no other choice for such services. The new rule could benefit other video providers, including telecoms like Verizon Communications and AT&T. An FCC spokesman says the issue will be discussed at the agency's meeting on Wednesday, but would not provide other details.


AT&T is disconnecting its plan for free wireless Internet service across the city of St. Louis. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that AT&T has scrapped its eight-month-old plan to blanket the city's 62 square miles with wi-fi signals. The wireless Internet service is commonly found in airports and coffee shops. Instead, AT&T promises to build a wi-fi pilot project in the downtown core. It expects to have it in service early next year. AT&T engineers apparently couldn't find a cheap way to power the network's transmitters, which carry the network signal and send it to people's computers. One estimate required 50 transmitters per square mile. Another problem: how to make money from a municipal wi-fi network, which can cost up to $200,000 per square mile to build. Such networks face growing competition from home broadband access, cellular phone companies boosting their own wireless Internet services, and new technologies--such as wi-max, a more powerful version of wi-fi. St. Louis now joins San Francisco, Houston and Chicago as cities where citywide wi-fi has run into problems.


NBC and Fox are set to launch an advertising-supported online video site in a bid to seize viewers from Google's YouTube. A test version of the site, hulu.com, has gone online. Company officials say they plan to have a final version running in a few months. The site, developed by News Corp. and NBC Universal offers free viewing of full-length films and TV episodes, supported by advertising. It will host programming from the two networks, as well as TV shows and films from Sony and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Hulu's debut comes amid tensions between entertainment companies and popular online video sites, such as YouTube, where unauthorized clips from shows often appear.


American Airlines says it'll offer new light meals, snacks and beverages for sale in coach over the next two months. The airline says the test sale includes three $5 sandwiches, four snack and beverage items for $3 each, and $10 fresh items like a fruit-and-cheese plate and antipasto platter. Each item will be tested for about a week on selected routes. Airlines once routinely provided free food in coach cabins, but many eliminated the service on domestic routes to save money. American has been selling food in coach since early 2005.


Tandy Brands Accessories avoided a proxy fight by agreeing to add a dissident shareholder to its board. The settlement was announced as the Fort Worth-based fashion accessories maker's shareholders were scheduled to vote for two directors at Tandy's annual meeting. The firm Golconda Capital Portfolio had nominated two challengers to replace incumbents on the seven-member board. But Tandy Brands said it agreed to increase the board to eight members by adding Golconda executive William Summitt. His term will expire in 2010. In exchange, Golconda withdrew its nomination of Summitt and Jedd M. Fowers, who's a consultant to electronic data systems. That assured the re-election of directors W. Grady rosier and Colombe M. Nicholas. Rosier's the chief executive of Temple-based grocery wholesaler McLane Company. Nicholas is a fashion industry consultant and former CEO of Anne Klein Group. Dallas-based Golconda owns about one percent of Tandy's shares and has pushed Tandy management to reverse a slide in sales and improve the company's stagnant stock price.


RadioShack reports it swung to a third-quarter profit. The Fort Worth-based electronics retailer says it overcame lower revenue by cutting costs and selling more high-margin items. It also said that it expects its fourth-quarter results to surpass those of last year's quarter. Its quarterly earnings report says it earned $46.3 million during the quarter ended September 30th. That's compared to a loss in last year's quarter of $16.3 million. Same-store sales at locations open at least a year plunged 8.6 percent from a year ago.


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