CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat) has the potential to end life-threatening diseases like cystic fibrosis, breast and ovarian cancer and inherited Alzheimer’s Disease. But there’s a catch: This same technology could be used to create "designer babies," which is why gene editing is the subject of ethical conversations as well as scientific ones.
By now, you may have heard of Truvada, or PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis.) In the iPrEx Study, which was the first randomized controlled trial of Truvada, Truvada for PrEP helped reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection by 44%.
The FDA just approved the first drug in 22 years to treat ALS — the second treatment ever for the disease. Edaravone (brand name Radicava) is an antioxidant drug thought to preserve motor neurons in people with ALS, allowing the nerves to keep their muscles working for a longer period of time.
One of the priorities of the new Administration in Washington, D.C., has been cutting budgets, including the largest funder of health disease research in the world, the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Trump Administration proposed cutting the NIH budget by about $1 billion in 2017. Instead, Congress passed (and the President signed May 5) a $2 billion increase in NIH funding for 2017. But the new “skinny budget” proposal for 2018 would make the earlier proposed cut even more drastic, reducing the current NIH budget by $5.8 billion.
Immunotherapy is the current buzzword in cancer research, and for good reason. Current front line treatments are usually radiology and chemotherapy. But, as anyone who has gone through these treatments will tell you, the biggest downsides are the side effects. Instead, Immunotherapy harnesses the body’s own defenses to overcome cancer.
During the last week of December 2016, the FDA formally approved a new drug from Biogen called Spinraza (nusinersen) for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA.) Just five years ago, there were no approved therapies to treat the underlying cause of SMA. MDA has funded foundational work in SMA and invested nearly $750,000 in awards for early-stage development of nusinersen. Since its inception, MDA has invested more than $45 million in SMA research. This breakthrough will help Nebraskans like Ollie and is only possible because of your gifts.