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What We're Reading: ACA Enrollment Expands; Seizure Disorder Treatment Approved; Biomarker Testing Program Launch


The special enrollment period for Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage has opened to low-income Americans; the FDA approves the first drug for a rare genetic epilepsy disorder; the National Institutes of Health to launch biomarker testing program for pediatric tumors.

ACA Plans With $0 Premiums Available

CNN is reporting that a special enrollment period has been created for low-income Americans who missed the deadline to sign up for 2022 Affordable Care Act coverage. Most individuals whose incomes fall 150% below the federal poverty level can now enroll for plans with $0 premiums through the federal exchange’s website, with other plans available for a few dollars. The enrollment period is set to last for the rest of 2022, and it will also target those experiencing certain life changes, such as losing job-based coverage, getting divorced, or aging out of a parent's policy.

First Drug Approval for Rare Seizure Disorder

The FDA announced the approval of the first drug to treat cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5 deficiency disorder (CDD), a rare genetic epilepsy, in patients aged 2 and older. Medpage Today is reporting that the approval of ganaxolone, sold as Ztalmy, a neuroactive steroid that acts as a positive allosteric modulator of the GABAA receptor, is based on results of the Marigold Study, which showed that patients with CDD aged 2 to 19 years exhibited a 30.7% median reduction in their 28-day frequency of major motor seizures when given the drug vs a 6.9% reduction for those who received placebo (P = .0036). CDD is one of the most common genetic forms of epilepsy, with an incidence of approximately 1 in 40,000 to 60,000 live births.

NIH Launches Biomarker Testing Program for Childhood Cancers

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced the launch of the Molecular Characterization Initiative for pediatric tumors, which will offer biomarker testing, also called tumor molecular characterization, to children, adolescents, and young adults. Noted to be in support of President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, free biomarker testing will now be available to pediatric patients with newly diagnosed central nervous system tumors who are being treated at hospitals that are affiliated with the Children’s Oncology Group. The Molecular Characterization Initiative will expand later this year to include soft tissue sarcomas and other rare tumors.

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