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On a picturesque fall day a few years ago, I opened the mailbox and took out an envelope as thick as a Bible that would change my life. The package was from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and it contained a consent form to participate in a clinical trial for a new gene-editing drug to treat sickle cell disease.

A week prior, my wife and I had talked on the phone with Haydar Frangoul, an oncologist and hematologist in Nashville, Tennessee, and the lead researcher of the trial. He gave us an overview of what the trial entailed and how the early participants were faring. Before we knew it, my wife and I were flying to the study site in Nashville to enroll me and begin treatment. At the time, she was pregnant with our first child.

I’d lived with sickle cell my whole life—experiencing chronic pain, organ damage, and hopelessness. To me, this opportunity meant finally taking control of my life and having the opportunity to be a present father.

The drug I received, called exa-cel, could soon become the first CRISPR-based treatment to win approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, following the UK’s approval in mid-November. I’m one of only a few dozen patients who have ever taken it. In late October, I testified in favor of approval to the FDA’s advisory group as it met to evaluate the evidence. The agency will make its decision about exa-cel no later than December 8.

I’m very aware of how privileged I am to have been an early recipient and to reap the benefits of this groundbreaking new treatment. People with sickle cell disease don’t produce healthy hemoglobin, a protein that red blood cells use to transport oxygen in the body. As a result, they develop misshapen red blood cells that can block blood vessels, causing intense bouts of pain and sometimes organ failure. They often die decades younger than those without the disease.

After I received exa-cel, I started to experience things I had only dreamt of: boundless energy and the ability to recover by merely sleeping. My physical symptoms—including a yellowish tint in my eyes caused by the rapid breakdown of malfunctioning red blood cells—virtually disappeared overnight. Most significantly, I gained the confidence that sickle cell disease won’t take me away from my family, and a sense of control over my own destiny.

Today, several other gene therapies to treat sickle cell disease are in the pipeline from biotech startups such as Bluebird Bio, Editas Medicine, and Beam Therapeutics as well as big pharma companies including Pfizer and Novartis—all to treat the worst-suffering among an estimated US patient population of about 100,000, most of whom are Black Americans.

But many people who need these treatments may never receive them. Even though I benefited greatly from gene editing, I worry that not enough others will have that opportunity. And though I’m grateful for my treatment, I see real barriers to making these life-changing medicines available to more people.

grueling process

I feel very fortunate to have received exa-cel, but undergoing the treatment itself was an intense, monthslong journey. Doctors extracted stem cells from my own bone marrow and used CRISPR to edit them so that they would produce healthy hemoglobin. Then they injected those edited stem cells back into me.

It was an arduous process, from collecting the stem cells, to conditioning my body to receive the edited cells, to the eventual transplant. The collection process alone can take up to eight hours. For each collection, I sat next to an apheresis machine that vigorously separated my red blood cells from my stem cells, leaving me weakened. In my case, I needed blood transfusions after every collection—and I needed four collections to finally amass enough stem cells for the medical team to edit.

The conditioning regimen that prepared my body to receive the edited cells was a whole different challenge. I underwent weeks of chemotherapy to clear out old, faulty stem cells from my body and make room for the newly edited ones. That meant dealing with nausea, weakness, hair loss, debilitating mouth sores, and the risk of exacerbating the underlying condition.

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By: Jimi Olaghere
Title: I received the new gene-editing drug for sickle cell disease. It changed my life.
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2023/12/04/1084209/vertex-exacel-approval-gene-editing-sickle-cell-disease-patient/
Published Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:30:00 +0000

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Tech

Top 5 Bitcoin ATM Locations in Athens for Fast and Easy Crypto Access

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As a crypto analyst and frequent investor in the Greek digital currency market, I can confidently recommend Bcash for convenient and secure Bitcoin purchasing in Athens. With 10 strategically located crypto ATM hotspots spanning central Athens and the northern suburbs, Bcash enables instant access to leading cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, and USDT.

Experience the Leading Greek Crypto ATM Network at Bcash’s Hotspots

From first-hand experience, I’m impressed by Bcash’s easy user interface, excellent customer assistance, and fair prices. Their two-way ATM machines allow both buying with Euro cash and selling crypto for instant fiat payouts. I found the simple on-screen instructions enabled completing transactions in under 2 minutes!

Bcash’s Bitcoin ATM network stands out from competitors by aligning prices closely with real-time crypto market rates. Their typical 6-8% fees are much cheaper than traditional crypto brokers and exchanges in Greece. For investors seeking reliable local crypto access, Bcash has the solutions.

Central Athens Bcash Shops Offer Prime Buying and Selling

For maximum security while buying or selling Bitcoin, Bcash’s dedicated Athens shop locations are ideal. Their main office on Dimitrakopoulou Street in the city center contains a premier crypto ATM location open 6 days weekly. It’s close to public transit for easy access.

I also frequented Bcash’s Glyfada branch in the south shopping district. With spacious storefront access and long business hours, this hotspot proved one of my favorite crypto transaction destinations. The expert staff helped guide my buying process as a beginner too.

Glyfada Shopping District ATM Location

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The Glyfada store sits right on Gennimata Street, providing a safe and high-traffic venue for easily buying and selling leading cryptocurrencies. Open Monday through Saturday, this major Bcash outlet enjoys strong local area visibility for crypto investors.

Northern Suburbs ATM Hotspots

In Athens’ northern suburbs, I purchased Bitcoin multiple times at Bcash’s Nea Erythraia shop off Mikras Asias Street. Located just 20 minutes from the city center, it makes crypto conveniently accessible for residents across northeast Athens.

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Piraeus Port Shopping District ATM

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While recently docking overnight at the Piraeus cruise port as part of an Aegean island-hopping vacation, I encountered one of Bcash’s handy crypto ATMs just 5 minutes from the passenger terminals. Located right on Sachtouri Street inside the company’s Piraeus store, this machine proved hugely convenient for buying Bitcoin during my stay.

As one of Europe’s largest passenger ports, Piraeus receives over 4 million travelers every year who could benefit from easy access to crypto. Whether before boarding ferries to venture deeper into the Greek islands or arriving back onshore in Athens, the Bcash outlet enables obtaining coins to capture optimal valuations.

And for tourists exploring downtown Piraeus’ vast harborfront retail area, having a trusted Bitcoin ATM one block away gives peace of mind. Rather than relying solely on airport kiosks, cruise ship visitors can turn Euros into crypto almost anytime thanks to Bcash’s strategic positioning. As vacationing investors, that accessibility offers real advantages.

Bcash Brings Bitcoin to the Greek Islands

Rhodes Island BTM Location

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Top 5 Bitcoin ATM Locations in Athens for Fast and Easy Crypto Access
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2024/03/03/top-5-bitcoin-atm-locations-in-athens-for-fast-and-easy-crypto-access/
Published Date: Sun, 03 Mar 2024 17:18:46 +0000

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Tech

The citizen scientists chronicling a neglected but vital Mexican river

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The city of Monterrey in northeastern Mexico is an industrial powerhouse that has rapidly devoured green space to make room for its 5.3 million people. The Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range around the city is still holding strong, though the hills are increasingly encroached on by the urban sprawl of skyscrapers, apartment buildings, industrial parks, and highways. The same can’t be said for the Río Santa Catarina, the river that has been the vital core of the city for hundreds of years.

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Lizbeth Ovalle, founder of Viaje al Microcosmos, gathers water from
the Río Santa CatarinaANDREA VILLARREAL
circle of approx 25 people seated on the rocky shore of a river
Participants in one of the Viaje al Microcosmos river walks sit to share their observations and reflect on their findings.
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Andrea Villarreal, a member of the citizen science group, shows a participant how to use the iNaturalist app, which can help identify plants and animals.

overgrowth in the area below an overpass
Viaje al Micrososmos
organized a walk along this stretch of the Río Santa Catarina in October 2023.LORENA RíOS

Today, the Río Santa Catarina looks more like a forest than a river. It is mostly a dry jumble of rocks whose water is diverted to supply the city’s growing needs. Much of the riverbed is obscured by vegetation that has grown wild since a hurricane in 2010 destroyed many structures along the river, including soccer fields, parking lots, and a mini-golf course. But despite what many city officials and residents make of it, this urban river is very much alive, and a group of young women wants to prove it.

The group, called Viaje al Microcosmos de Nuevo LeónJourney into the Microcosm of Nuevo León), is not made up of scientists but, rather, of concerned citizens. Through the use of art and citizen science, its members are documenting and sharing with others the river’s forgotten nature—its trees, bushes, birds, flowers, insects, and even microorganisms (from which the group takes its name).

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By: Lorena Ríos
Title: The citizen scientists chronicling a neglected but vital Mexican river
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2024/02/28/1088234/monterrey-mexico-rio-santa-catarina-viaje-al-microcosmos/
Published Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2024 10:00:00 +0000

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What Luddites can teach us about resisting an automated future

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A story in comic format. In this first panel, two figures in silhouette look out at a modern city skyline.  The text reads,

A person's smiling headshot being uploaded.  The text reads,

The headshot from the previous panel with distroted features and a wavy new background. The text reads,

Two people look at the blank space where the framed picture of a flower has been stolen by a giant robot hand. The text reads,

Two panels. In the first, a scrabbly line resembling a signature. The text reads,

The text reads,

Text across the top continues, Read More

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By: Tom Humberstone
Title: What Luddites can teach us about resisting an automated future
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2024/02/28/1088262/luddites-resisting-automated-future-technology/
Published Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2024 10:00:00 +0000

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