Want to catch up with the news quickly? Here are the top stories from Friday, December 8, 2023.
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1. FDA approves cure for sickle cell disease
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a groundbreaking treatment for sickle cell disease, a devastating illness that primarily affects those who are Black. The therapy, called Casgevy, works by genetically modifying a patient’s stem cells.
Until now, the only known cure for sickle cell disease was a bone marrow transplant from a donor, which was not an assured success. Beyond the difficulty of finding a donor, the transplant carries the risk of rejection by the immune system.
2. Republicans and Democrats clash over border security
Congress is at a standstill over a supplemental spending bill. Amid clashes over how to supply Ukraine, Israel, and the southern border, none will receive funding until lawmakers can come to can agreement.
Meanwhile, as a large number of migrants attempt to cross the United States' southern border, several states have reported recovering a growing amount of bodies from those who perished during their journeys. One key point of entry in Arizona has since been closed in an effort to prevent more crossings.
3. White House delays decision on banning menthol cigarettes
Long-awaited federal rules that would ban menthol flavoring in cigarettes have been delayed, angering health advocates. A 2022 study found that prohibiting menthol cigarettes would save up to 654,000 lives within 40 years, including the lives of 255,000 Black Americans, who account for the majority of menthol smokers.
Recent analysis also found that within five years, a ban on menthol cigarettes would erase the disparity in lung cancer death rates between Black Americans and other racial groups in the United States. The gap is currently expected to close within 30 years.
The White House's final ruling is now expected in March.