Nov 6, 2019

IVF "add-on" procedures to improve success are mostly unproven

Photo: Ivan Couronne/AFP/Getty Images

Fertility clinics offer IVF patients a wide variety of supplementary procedures sold as ways to increase the treatment's likelihood of success, but there's not much evidence they work, STAT reports.

Between the lines: IVF can be an emotionally harrowing procedure, and women desperate to have a baby aren't likely to say no to something marketed as their last hope for doing so.

Details: There are nearly three dozen supplemental procedures being offered, but there's little to no evidence that most of them actually increase a woman's chance of having a baby, according to four papers published yesterday in Fertility and Sterility, the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

  • Some of the add-ons may even lower a woman's chance of having a baby through IVF.

The bottom line: IVF clinics are lightly regulated, if they're regulated at all, STAT writes.

  • "Fertility clinics have gotten bolder and bolder about using procedures that have little to no scientific validation," said Jack Wilkinson of England's University of Manchester, who led one of the new studies. "It lets them tell patients there's one more thing they can try."

Go deeper: Congress blocks 3-parent IVF

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Why Baby Yoda should scare Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick

Data: NewsWhip; Baby Yoda photo: Jon Favreau's Instagram; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Baby Yoda, the juggernaut character from Disney+'s Star Wars series "The Mandalorian," is driving almost twice as many average social media interactions on news stories about it as any 2020 Democrat, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

Why it matters: The internet's most memeable 50-year-old broke through the online conversation in a huge way since the show's Nov. 12 premiere — and its viral success should worry the 2020 race's late Democratic entrants, Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick.

Go deeperArrowNov 29, 2019

Doctors safely use CRISPR on cancer patients

A researcher performs a CRISPR/Cas9 process at the Max-Delbrueck-Centre for Molecular Medicine. Photo: Gregor Fischer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Three cancer patients in the U.S. were the first to be safely injected with the gene editing tool CRISPR as a form of immunotherapy to fight their illness, AP reports.

Reality check: It's too soon to know whether the treatment will help, doctors say. The patients, who all failed multiple standard treatments, had varying results after two to three months.

Go deeperArrowNov 7, 2019

Nancy Pelosi's drug pricing bill threatens small biotech companies

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Small biotechs are worried that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's drug pricing bill would dry up the venture capital funding that they need to survive, STAT reports.

Why it matters: These companies turn basic research into new drugs, and conduct 70% of clinical trials, according to data from BIO.

Go deeperArrowNov 13, 2019