Rio Sugimura

Scientists are getting closer to being able to routinely make blood stem cells in the lab, two new research papers in Nature show. The ability to create blood stem cells that can combat deadly diseases like leukemia has been one of the holy grails of cancer research for years.

Why it matters: Blood stem cells could have immense implications for therapies, drug screening and research. Researchers have proposed, for instance, that some day cells could be extracted from leukemia patients (whose systems are suppressing the production of normal blood cells), transformed into blood stem cells and then infused back into the patients as a personalized therapy.

Caveats: But there is a long journey from the lab to therapy, with no guarantee it will work. The safety of blood stem cells in humans would have to be tested, the long term effects of treatment would have to be studied and a process for manufacturing them established.

What they did: In one of the studies, researchers used chemical signals to convert embryonic stem cells into a specific type of stem cell that lines the walls of blood vessels. From there, they altered seven key ways in which genetic information is passed along in order to create blood stem cells. In the second study, researchers used adult mouse skin cells as the starting point and transformed them into mouse blood cells in much the same fashion as the first study.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:15 p.m. ET: 32,673,978 — Total deaths: 990,738 — Total recoveries: 22,535,056Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:15 p.m. ET: 7,065,019 — Total deaths: 204,249 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,488,275Map.
  3. States: New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June — U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee set to start Oct. 12

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Sept. 24. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee are tentatively scheduled to begin Oct. 12, two Senate sources familiar with the plans told Axios.

Why it matters: The committee's current schedule could allow Senate Republicans to confirm the nominee weeks before November's election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell currently has enough votes to confirm Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is expected as the president's pick.

Dave Lawler, author of World
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A hinge moment for America's role in the world

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Getty Images photo: Saul Loeb/AFP

The world may be living through the last gasps of America First — or just getting a taste of what's to come.

Why it matters: President Trump's message at this week's virtual UN General Assembly was short and relatively simple: global institutions like the World Health Organization are weak and beholden to China; international agreements like the Iran deal or Paris climate accord are "one-sided"; and the U.S. has accomplished more by going its own way.

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