Welcome back. I always appreciate your feedback so please keep it coming. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by replying to this email.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new immunotherapy for treating a type of leukemia that affects children and young adults. The manufacturer, Novartis, expects it will cost about $475,000 for the one-time personalized treatment in which a patient's immune cells are removed, modified so they attack cancer cells, and then infused back into the body. Other companies are working on similar therapies for other cancers — with tentative success and serious setbacks.
As these new drugs begin to enter the market, we asked five experts: How should their value be determined? Their answers:
Douglas Lowy and John Schiller, scientists from the National Cancer Institute, will be presented the prestigious Lasker Award on Sept. 15 for their research that led to the development of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. They're hopeful their approach could be used for more vaccines against other viral infections that cause cancer.
Schiller and Lowy, who is acting NCI director, talked to Axios about the vaccine's use in the U.S. and cancer prevention efforts.
Read more here.
Smoke from over a hundred wildfires burning across the West is smothering the country, Axios' Erin Ross writes. Thousands of people have been evacuated and homes burned. Firefighters are dousing flames, bulldozing, and doing backburning operations to protect homes and lives. Officials say resources to fight the fires are stretched thin.
In the map above, created by Axios Visuals editor Lazaro Gamio, the dots are infrared anomalies, most caused by fires, as seen from space. The dots disappear when they're obscured by smoke or clouds, and sometimes the satellite picks up things that aren't fires. The brighter the dot, the more likely it is to be a wildfire.
Bonus: Erin breaks it down in our first Axios Sourced video.
Jupiter is home to the solar system's most powerful auroras but their source is a mystery. On Earth, auroras are created when the solar wind blows over the planet's magnetic fields and drives electrons into oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere. Those electrons then emit photons that the luckiest of us get to see as the vibrant colors of the Northern and Southern Lights.
On Jupiter, it's different. The rotation of the planet in its own magnetic field, not the solar wind, can generate 400,000 volts of charge as it pushes electrons toward the atmosphere. But unlike on Earth, that doesn't create Jupiter's brightest auroras, scientists reported in Nature yesterday.
"We assumed the most intense auroras were created by these strong potentials that we expected to find. We've found them but they don't seem to be as important as we thought. Something else is stepping in," study author Barry Mauk from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory told Axios.
Best guess: As charged electrons in plasma gases above the planet's atmosphere interact with plasma waves, they gain or lose energy. Over time, Mauk says, in a random fashion, electrons at different energies may hit the atmosphere and cause auroras.
What's next: The orbit of NASA's spacecraft Juno will soon pass closer to the aurora over Jupiter's northern pole. Mauk hopes that will tell them more about the processes at play.