Mar 1, 2019

FDA warns about robotic surgery for cancer

Urological surgeon Vladimir Medvedev uses a Da Vinci robotic surgical system. Photo: Valery Matytsin/TASS/Getty Images

Researchers have long been skeptical about whether surgical robots lead to better clinical outcomes than traditional surgical techniques. And now the FDA wants to make sure more patients and surgeons are aware of the pitfalls.

What they're saying: Surgical robots have not been officially labeled as safe or effective "in mastectomy procedures or the prevention or treatment of cancer," the FDA wrote Thursday in a public safety notice.

  • Translation: Patients should be studious. Doctors should fully explain the risks or robotic surgery, and shouldn't hype it up.

By the numbers: Intuitive Surgical, one of the world's largest makers of surgical robots, collected more than $1.1 billion of profit from $3.7 billion of revenue in 2018. Intuitive's stock is up 161% since the start of 2017, putting the company's market value around $63 billion.

Go deeper: Johnson & Johnson acquires surgical robot firm Auris

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Exclusive: Trump's "Deep State" hit list

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: WPA Pool/Getty Pool, Drew Angerer/Getty Staff

The Trump White House and its allies, over the past 18 months, assembled detailed lists of disloyal government officials to oust — and trusted pro-Trump people to replace them — according to more than a dozen sources familiar with the effort who spoke to Axios.

Driving the news: By the time President Trump instructed his 29-year-old former body man and new head of presidential personnel to rid his government of anti-Trump officials, he'd gathered reams of material to support his suspicions.

Exclusive: Anti-Sanders campaign targets black South Carolina voters

Courtesy of The Big Tent Project

The Big Tent Project, a Democratic political group focused on promoting moderate presidential candidates, has sent hundreds of thousands of mailers bashing Bernie Sanders to black voters in South Carolina who voted in the state's 2016 primary.

Why it matters: Sanders' rise to the top of the pack, as dueling moderate candidates split their side of the vote, is worrying many in the Democratic political establishment who fear a socialist can't beat President Trump.

Inside the fight over FBI surveillance powers

Carter Page. Photo: Artyom Korotayev\TASS via Getty Images

Over the past year, President Trump has told senior administration officials, including Attorney General Bill Barr, that he wants a major overhaul of national security surveillance powers and the secret court that approves them.

Behind the scenes: In one such discussion last year about the need to reauthorize government authorities to surveil U.S. citizens, Trump went so far as to say he'd rather get rid of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) altogether.