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What We're Reading: NYC Measles Outbreak Ends; Addressing Medical Debt; Betting on a T1D Cure

AJMC Staff
New York City health officials have declared an end to the city’s biggest measles outbreak in nearly 3 decades; Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, has proposed canceling $81 billion in existing medical debt; Vertex Pharmaceuticals is taking a chance on a start-up’s early-stage science that could potentially one day emerge as a functional cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D).

New York City Measles Outbreak Declared Over

Health officials in New York City on Tuesday declared an end to the city’s biggest measles outbreak in nearly 3 decades and rescinded an emergency order requiring people in parts of Brooklyn to be vaccinated. Mayor Bill de Blasio credited the end of the outbreak to the work of community organizations and Jewish leaders, who “helped encourage vaccinations and achieve record immunization levels in parts of Brooklyn.” Since the emergency order was issued in April, more than 15,500 people have received the measles vaccine, reported The Hill.

 

Sanders Proposes Clearing Medical Debt

Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, has proposed canceling over $80 billion in existing medical debt for Americans. In a statement, Sanders said that the government would negotiate and pay off past-due medical bills that have been reported to credit agencies and that the proposal would repeal some elements of the 2005 bankruptcy reform bill, as well as allow other existing and future medical debt to be cleared. However, the presidential hopeful offered no details on how the plan would be financed, according to Reuters.

 

Vertex Takes a Bet on Cure for Type 1 Diabetes

Vertex Pharmaceuticals has announced plans to acquire Semma Therapeutics for $950 million, taking a chance on the start-up’s early-stage science that could potentially one day emerge as a functional cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D). Based on the work of a Harvard University stem cell scientist, Semma Therapeutics uses an approach that turns moldable stem cells into beta cells, which produce insulin and are mistakenly attacked by the immune system in T1D. According to STAT News, if the approach works and the lab-grown beta cells replace those lost to T1D, the cells would be transplanted directly into the liver or meted out by an implant.

 
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