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May 5, 2017            

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

Cuomo budget allows ridesharing outside NYC

Bringing opportunity to the rest of the state, Gov. Cuomo’s 2017-2018 budget includes language that regulates and permits the operation of transportation network companies (TNCs) everywhere in New York, not just New York City—long a bastion of ridesharing companies like Uber.

With the legislation, taking effect 90 days after the budget’s signing, New York joins 45 other states across the country in allowing the tech-driven popular new TNC industry to flourish.

Cancer “Moonshot,” other NIH research funding, spared, increased, for now

On April 3, speaking at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden criticized proposals to cut $5.8 billion in federal funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In the waning months of President Barack Obama’s administration, Vice President Biden was tapped to head up the ambitious Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot, named for his late son who died of brain cancer.

Despite the current administration’s plans of cutting the NIH’s budget by 20 percent, it was reported in early May that Congress increased the NIH’s funding by $2 billion for the final five months of the current fiscal year—delighting agency researchers and confounding its critics.

Consumer genetic test approved in FDA first

For its first time, the FDA is allowing a company to sell genetic tests for disease risk directly to consumers, The New York Times reported on April 6.

In 2013, the FDA blocked the Calif-based 23andMe genetics testing firm from selling its $199 Ancestry and Health service, which tests for the risk of ten genetic diseases.

“The decision is expected to open the floodgates for more direct-to-consumer tests for disease risks, drawing a road map for other companies to do the same thing,” according to the Times.