Trending News Today: Researchers Take a New Approach to Gene Therapy

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

Republican lawmakers announced they will include a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate within a proposed tax reform bill to further cut spending, according to The New York Times. This plan was endorsed by GOP legislators and President Donald Trump, who recently tweeted about the inclusion of the repeal in the tax reform bill. Sen Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Finance Committee, said they are including the repeal to help low- and middle-income families who face a fine for not having health coverage, according to the article.

A new study found that 2 treatments for opioid use disorder—a monthly shot of naltrexone (Vivitrol) and daily buprenorphine and naloxone (Suboxone)—are equivalent and prevent relapses, according to STAT. The authors said these results may change prescribing habits since there is a widespread belief among physicians that naltrexone treatment is not as beneficial as buprenorphine, according to the article. However, with naltrexone, patients have to taper their opioid use before starting treatment to avoid withdrawal, which led to many patients failing to start therapy, STAT reported.

For the first time, researchers attempted using a gene editing technique to change a living patient’s DNA in an attempt to cure a disease, according to STAT. The technique involved an infusion of billions of copies of a corrective gene and cutting DNA inside of the patient’s body. Current gene therapies alter the genes in cell cultures, while others do not edit DNA. The outcomes of the procedure will be shown within the next 3 months and, if successful, could significantly change the growing field of gene therapy, according to the article.

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