Food and Drug Administration panel opened a new era in medicine on Wednesday,
unanimously recommending that the agency approve the first-ever treatment that
genetically alters a patient’s own cells to fight cancer, transforming them
into what scientists call “a living drug” that powerfully bolsters the immune
system to shut down the disease.
the F.D.A. accepts the recommendation, which is likely, the treatment will be
the first gene therapy ever to reach the market. Others are expected:
Researchers and drug companies have been engaged in intense competition for
decades to reach this milestone. Novartis is now poised to be the first. Its
treatment is for a type of leukemia, and it is working on similar types of
treatments in hundreds of patients for another form of the disease, as well as
multiple myeloma and an aggressive brain tumor.
use the technique, a separate treatment must be created for each patient —
their cells removed at an approved medical center, frozen, shipped to a
Novartis plant for thawing and processing, frozen again and shipped back to the
single dose of the resulting product has brought long remissions, and possibly
cures, to scores of patients in studies who were facing death because every
other treatment had failed. The panel recommended approving the treatment for
B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia that has resisted treatment, or relapsed,
in children and young adults aged 3 to 25.
Women represent 49
percent of the labor force, 44 percent of hours worked, and 37 percent of
earnings. Yet, many economic models of government policy ignore gender
differences and use data on men only. This would not matter if women’s behavior
and outcomes were the same as men’s. But they are not.
Our research highlights significant
differences based on gender and marital status in labor participation rates,
hours worked, earnings and saving. Economic models that account for these
differences will likely yield more reliable predictions of how people react to
changes in the economic environment, such as changes in wages and taxes.
Economic models are an important tool in
government policymaking. They are used extensively to examine the effects of
government policies and programs that have far-reaching impacts — including
Social Security, taxation and welfare programs. As such, these models have real,
albeit indirect, effects on our lives. We all stand to benefit from models that
use meaningful and comprehensive data to represent the labor force accurately
and support sound government decisionmaking.
thinking and talking about change, I (and many others) have always focused on
the positives — what change could bring about and enable. I and others spoke
about the importance of educational risk-taking, even when those efforts were
not a success. I and others made the case repeatedly that deciding to not
change was an action in itself — namely choosing to stay put or in fact, fall
What the quoted statement
suggests that this focus on the positives of change is flawed; instead of
encouraging change for its own sake and the sake of the institutions served by
change, we need to focus on the trade-offs. If change is actually about loss,
we need to address loss and how to make loss more acceptable.
Referring to this “myth
of the market economy,” William Lazonick, an economist now at the University of
Massachusetts Lowell, told me that most Americans, including many economists
and politicians, misunderstand or neglect the true history of how the United
States built its economy. The lone, visionary entrepreneur and the audacious
industrialist are not the originators of the economic system, but rather the
products of a system fostered by the collective efforts of the people through
The railroads may have
been the product of private enterprise, he pointed out, but they relied on government land grants to
help finance construction. And the government gave states federal land to sell
so that they could finance the creation of top-flight universities, such as
Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Purdue, that promoted innovation and business across
the interior of the country. “Aviation doesn’t happen without the government
being involved,” via air-mail subsidies and airplane-design subsidies, Lazonick
notes. Hoover Dam, the TVA, the California and Colorado River Aqueducts, the
internet—the list of infrastructure projects that grew the economy and nurtured
individual business success is very long. “So the government is everywhere, but
the ideology is that government is not there,” he says.
Today, cities, states, and some in the federal
government insist that there’s no money to pay for projects. The billions being
lined up by investors says otherwise. One way or another, Americans will pay,
either through taxes and tolls paid to their government, or through tolls, fees
and rates paid to equity investors. “There’s no free lunch,” Gordon, of the Tax
Policy Center, said. The Great Depression, when money was much scarcer than it
is today, was an era of intense infrastructure investment. As Gordon spoke, she
happened to be driving over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Homelessness, Girl Scouts
Scouts troop established in February at a homeless shelter in
Queens will expand to 14 additional shelters throughout New York City and is
expected to serve about 500 girls.
In the stately Blue Room at City
Hall, five members of Troop 6000 announced
the expansion during a news conference on Wednesday. (The girls spoke at the
lectern, although a couple did so in a near whisper.)
With a portrait of Alexander
Hamilton as a backdrop, Karina, Sanaa, Christina, Nayalynn and Tanae — ages 5
to 11 — talked about the troop’s origins, its expansion and what the Girl
Scouts meant to them.
What did Tanae, 5, like most about
Girl Scouts? After a long pause and a little help reaching the microphone, she