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Fri Feb 16: Nine week Hereptin trial; High alert; Daily commute; Audi anyone?

9 Week Herceptin Trial
Pharmac has today announced it intends to support an international Herceptin trial for women with early stage HER2 breast cancer. Pharmac is pinning its hopes on the results of a small Finnish trial which found that a nine week course of Herceptin was just as effective as taking it for a year. It is not the news breast cancer patients have been waiting for.  Indeed, some have been left wondering if it's not just a Pharmac delaying tactic. Critics say the Finnish trial was too small to prove any benefits, that the government has just gone for the cheapest option possible and that this could be another unfortunate experiment. With us to discuss the reasons for this decision are Dr Dilky Rasiah from Pharmac and Libby Burgess from the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition.

High Alert
For a fortnight they have been on high alert at Mt Ruapehu - DOC, police, scientists, and the local council are all on lahar watch. It's not a matter of if but when the million cubic metres of water and mud spills down the mountain. Scientists say it could happen in a few weeks and when it finally does, four sensors permanently on the mountain are expected to trigger the alarm. But scientists are also constantly visiting the crater to monitor lake levels and erosion. Robyn Janes went along for the ride.

Daily Commute
Holidays are over, schools are back and many of us are cursing the grinding traffic again. According to last year's Census more than 1.25 million of us get to work in a private vehicle, while less than 80,000 use public transport. But the Auckland Regional Transport Association says more of us are using public transport and that there were 28 million fewer car journeys last year. As an experiment reporter Rawdon Christie has taken a different mode of transport to work, each day for a week. The goal - to find out whether there really is a viable alternative to the car.

Audi Anyone?
William and Lee Foreman want to cash in the $90,000 Audi convertible they won on Lotto's Big Wednesday. Why? To keep at bay the primary groin cancer which has struck William, not once but twice. But they have been told if they trade in the car straight away, without driving it, they will lose almost $30,000. So they've put their winning ticket on Trade Me and are looking for bidders willing to pay more than the dealers, so that William can fund his lifelong medication.

To access William's Trade Me ad click here