Jun 16, 2018

Go deeper: The new drugs and therapies keeping us alive longer

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

Americans on average are dying sooner, largely due to the country’s opioid epidemic. But a number of medical advances are helping people who have chronic diseases live longer.

What’s working: Medical researchers and venture capitalists told Axios that these drugs and treatments have immensely helped patients, or could change the face of medicine shortly.

  • Hepatitis C drugs sold by Gilead Sciences and AbbVie essentially eradicate the virus in as few as two months, although side effects vary.
  • Immunotherapy treatments, such as CAR-T, give patients the chance to fight off cancer with modified versions of their own immune cells.
  • New gene therapies are attacking rare disorders, such as one treatment that reverses a rare form of blindness.
  • Gene-modifying systems like CRISPR are giving scientists hope of treating disease at the DNA level.
  • Newer diabetes treatments have been shown to slow the costly and crippling long-term disease.

Be smart: The price tags are huge, and we still don’t know about all of their long-term side effects. There are always tradeoffs in health policy, but a breakthrough drug or treatment may not be all that valuable if people can’t access or afford it.

Go deeper:

Experts divided on trend toward smaller, targeted clinical trials

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UFC wants to host fight on tribal land to avoid coronavirus restrictions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In an attempt to skirt federal and state guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC plans to hold its April 18 pay-per-view event on tribal land in California, per multiple reports.

The state of play: Even as the rest of the sports world hits pause, UFC president Dana White has remained adamant that fights must go on, and appears to have settled for a shutdown casino in a state with the fourth-most confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Health