KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Scientists Research Benefits On Aging Of Killing Off Older Cells

In mice, reducing so-called senescent cells in the body likely kept the animal healthier longer. But the process would be hard to replicate for humans. In other health research, a scientific panel decides it could be "ethically permissible" for a baby to have genes from three people. And Stanford University says its new DNA screening test can more accurately diagnose cystic fibrosis in babies.

NPR: Boosting Life Span By Clearing Out Cellular Clutter
Mice were much healthier and lived about 25 percent longer when scientists killed off a certain kind of cell that accumulates in the body with age. What's more, the mice didn't seem to suffer any ill effects from losing their so-called senescent cells. These are cells that have stopped dividing, though not necessarily because the cells themselves are old. (Greenfieldboyce, 2/3)

NPR: Babies With Genes From 3 People Could Be Ethical, Panel Says
Would it be ethical for scientists to try to create babies that have genetic material from three different people? An influential panel of experts has concluded the answer could be yes. The 12-member panel, assembled by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, released a 164-page report Wednesday outlining a plan for how scientists could ethically pursue the controversial research. (Stein, 2/3)

Kaiser Health News: Cutting Edge DNA Technology Could Boost Cystic Fibrosis Screening For Newborns
Stanford University scientists say they’ve devised a more accurate and comprehensive DNA test to screen newborns for cystic fibrosis, the most common fatal genetic disease in the United States. Affecting about one in 3,900 babies born in the U.S., cystic fibrosis causes mucus to build up in the lungs, pancreas and other organs, leading to frequent lung infections and often requiring lifetime treatment for patients, whose median lifespan is 37 years. (Feder Ostrov, 2/4)

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