8.31.2017

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
08.31.2017
NEED TO KNOW.
Immunotherapy.
In a historic decision, the FDA approved a new type of cancer immunotherapy - the first approval of a cell-based gene therapy in the US. The drug from Novartis, called Kymeriah, is based on an approach known as CAR-T - short for chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy - which, unlike drugs or pills, uses the body's own immune system to attack cancer cells (see 101 here). Kymeriah targets children and young adults under age 25 who suffer from acute lymphoblastic leukemia - the most common cancer in children, accounting for 30% of childhood cancer cases. In a clinical trial with 63 patients, Kymeriah induced remission in 83% of patients within three months. As the first of its kind, the price is high - a course of treatment will cost $475k, though it's lower than the $700k analysts projected. The treatment will initially be available at only 32 specially-trained hospitals nationwide. 

Tax Reform.
President Trump made a case for sweeping tax reform in a Missouri speech Wednesday night, signaling that he will prioritize the issue when Congress returns on September 5th. While few details were revealed - Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Economic Council head Gary Cohn are working them out with leaders on the Hill - Trump indicated he will push for a reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%. The US corporate tax rate generates about $300 billion in revenue each year (see breakout here), but includes a long list of deductions that will make navigating a reform bill through Congress challenging. Congress will also have to work on a deal - which would be the first major tax reform since Ronald Reagan in 1986 - against the backdrop of emergency relief for Harvey victims and a raise in the debt ceiling. 

Diana.
Today marks 20 years since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales - in a car accident originally blamed on paparazzi but ultimately determined to be the result of drunk driving by the chauffeur, Henri Paul. Diana's cultural importance stemmed partly from her ability to connect with average people - while many viewed the Royal Family as aloof and out-of-touch, Diana was perceived to be human and empathetic with her subjects. Diana also captured the public's imagination with her charitable causes and political advocacy - most notably her work against the use of landmines - and famously, her decision to divorce Prince Charles over his ongoing affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. Diana - whose funeral drew 2.5 billion viewers - left a legacy that changed the public's expectations of how the Royal Family engaged with their subjects. For an interesting read, check out Newsweek's original article from '97 reviewing the crash

 
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IN THE KNOW.

Science & Technology.

Tumor-induced anorexia is basis for anti-obesity drug, shows promise in rodents (More)
Sequoia Capital's mentor program for women in tech to quadruple size (More)
New nano-device can lift 165x its weight, applications range from robots to health (More)
 

Business & Markets.

Markets upbeat as 2nd Quarter GDP figures revised upward to 3% growth (More)
Grab - the Uber of Asia - lands $2.5B investment from Toyota, investors (More)
New Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi meets employees, promises culture change (More) | Transcript & audio of speech to employees (More)
 

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade finalized; 2nd round pick used to sweeten deal with Cavs (More)
Hollywood suffers worst summer box office in 25 years (More)
Hackers breach Instagram, gain access to several high-profile IG profiles (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

US-led airstrikes in Syria block ISIS evacuation (More)
Federal judge blocks Texas ban on sanctuary cities (More)
US and South Korea fly 8 fighter jets, 2 bombers over Korean Peninsula in show of force (More)
IN DEPTH.

The Empire Stopper. 

New York Times | Rod Nordland. Afghanistan is the country that can't seem to get out of the way of empires - the nation has been the battleground of at least three protracted skirmishes involving world powers since the beginning of the 19th century. Those battles - all mostly unsuccessful - coincided with the rise in photography. This piece from the Times beautifully traces out these (mis)adventures with contemporary photos - with the whole piece capturing the resiliency of the Afghan people.  
 

Brain-altering magnetic pulses could zap cocaine addiction. 

Science | Meredith Wadman. Roughly one million people in the US are addicted to cocaine. And while addicts of other substances like nicotine, alcohol, and opioids have FDA approved treatments, cocaine addicts do not. So where do patients with depression, anxiety, and addiction turn for help? Luca Rossi, a crack cocaine addict, tried to hang himself in 2012 - he said he no longer smiled or cried.  But since then, Rossi has found guidance at the NIDA, the National Institution on Drug Abuse, where neurologists are experimenting with transcranial magnetic stimulation as treatment for cocaine addiction: the results are shocking.
ETCETERA.
The average age of fathers in the US is rising.

The gargoyles on Paris' storied Notre-Dame cathedral need help - $120M in help


Science Astronomers pin down remains of a nova first seen 580 years ago in Korea. 

Photo Gallery: 150 tons of tomatoes used in ultimate food fight as 'La Tomatina' festival kicks off in Spain. 

Massive colonies of floating fire ants are floating around Houston.

Tinder users can now pay to see who swipes right on them.

Conde Nast: Ranks the 25 most beautiful college campuses.

Avocado Toast: Walmart bringing fast-casual organic restaurants to stores.

Look inside the tunnels ISIS uses to launch sneak attacks in Raqqa. 


Robots New robot can make as many shirts per hour as 17 factory workers.

Historybook: Jack the Ripper kills first victim (1888); First pro football game (1895); Thomas Edison patents movie camera (1897); Britain, Russia & France form Triple Entente (1907); HBD Richard Gere (1949); RIP Rocky Marciano (1969); RIP Princess Diana (1997).
"THEY SAY IT IS BETTER TO BE POOR AND HAPPY THAN RICH AND MISERABLE, BUT HOW ABOUT A COMPROMISE LIKE MODERATELY RICH AND JUST MOODY?"
-Princess Diana
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