Trending News Today: Hallucinogenic Drugs Ease Anxiety in Cancer Patients

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a biomedical bill that will help drug manufacturers gain faster FDA approval, increase medical research and drug-abuse spending, and revamp federal mental health programs, according to The New York Times. Despite objections from consumer groups and some Democrats to the 996-page bill, an alliance among Republicans, many other Democrats, and the White House, led to the approval of the bill by a vote of 392 to 26. The Senate’s expected final approval of the legislation will take place next week, the Times reported.

Surprising study results revealed that approximately 80% of cancer patients had clinically significant reductions in both anxiety and depression after taking the illegal hallucinogen psilocybin. According to The New York Times, the response was sustained some 7 months after the single dose. Additionally, adverse events were observed to be minimal. Cancer-related psychological distress affects up to 40% of patients, and can be resistant to conventional therapy, the Times reported.

The Allen Institute for Cell Science, a nonprofit research group, granted scientists access to a collection of living stem cells genetically altered to make internal structures, such as the nucleus and mitochondria, glow. These cells may help scientists determine how cells specialize as they develop, how specific diseases change a cell, and how experimental drugs affect certain types of cells, NPR reported. The Institute will initially be releasing 5 cell lines through the Coriell Institute for Medical Research. According to NPR, each line has a different internal structure that glows, which allows researchers to examine how the structures move and change during the cell’s life. The cells can be ordered online for a price that only reflects the distribution cost, according to the report.