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What We're Reading: Doctors Charged in Opioid Scheme; First US CRISPR Treatment; "Bubble Boy" Disease Cured


Dozens of doctors and other medical professionals have been charged with exchanging opioids and other drugs for sex and cash; the first 2 patients in the United States have been treated with CRISPR; doctors have cured infants of immunodeficiency syndrome using gene therapy made from HIV.

Doctors Charged With Illegal Opioid Distribution

Dozens of medical professionals, including 31 doctors, 7 pharmacists, and 8 nurses, have been charged with illegally prescribing and distributing more than 32 million opioids and other drugs. According to The Wall Street Journal, those charged knowingly provided drugs to vulnerable patients, accepted cash payments, signed blank prescriptions to be completed by their staff, and traded prescriptions for sex. The scheme spanned Kentucky, Alabama, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia, some of the states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic.

First US Patients Being Treated With CRISPR

A previously approved CRISPR study at the University of Pennsylvania is underway, with confirmation from a university spokesman that 2 patients had been treated with the gene-editing technique. One patient had multiple myeloma and one patient had sarcoma. Both patients had relapsed after receiving conventional treatment. According to NPR, other human trials of CRISPR are starting or are set to start in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Doctors Cure “Bubble Boy” Disease With Gene Therapy

Researchers say they have cured 8 babies born without a working immune system by using a gene therapy made from an unlikely source: HIV. The 8 infants with severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome, often called “bubble boy” disease, were followed for a median of 16.4 months. The results, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, showed that previous infections were cleared in all infants, and all babies continued to grow normally.

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