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Houston Scientist Wins Nobel Prize, Texas Health Systems Merger, And President Trump Announces NAFTA’s Replacement

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Monday, October 1, 2018

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Dr. James P. Allison, the 2018 Nobel Prize winner for Medicine, speaks during a press conference, Monday Oct. 1, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Dr. James P. Allison.

Houston scientist wins Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded Monday to two researchers from the United States and Japan for advances in discovering how the body’s immune system can fight off the scourge of cancer.

The $1 million prize will be shared by James Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Tasuku Honjo, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at Kyoto University.

Allison is the first MD Anderson scientist to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, according to MD Anderson.

Allison studied a known protein and developed the concept into a new treatment approach, whereas Honjo discovered a new protein that also operated as a brake on immune cells.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition,” Allison said in a statement. “A driving motivation for scientists is simply to push the frontiers of knowledge. I didn’t set out to study cancer, but to understand the biology of T cells, these incredible cells that travel our bodies and work to protect us.”

This photo shows one of the hospitals that are part of the Memorial Hermann health system.
This photo shows the Memorial Hermann hospital in southwest Houston.

Health systems merger announced

Memorial Hermann Health System and Baylor Scott & White Health announced Monday their intent to merge and provide statewide health care. Currently, the two health systems serve in more than 30 Texas counties, employing more than 73,000 across the state.

Together, the two systems include 68 hospital campuses, more than 1,100 care delivery sites, nearly 14,000 employed, independent and academic physicians and two health plans. They currently record nearly 10 million patient encounters annually.

Both Memorial Hermann and Baylor Scott & White are not-for-profit health systems and were founded as faith-based organizations. The merger aims to create a health system that will become a national model for “integrated” and “cost-effective care,” according to a joint news release.

The next stage in the merger is a definitive agreement, which is anticipated to be complete in 2019.

President Donald Trump speaks as he announces a revamped North American free trade deal, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. The new deal, reached just before a midnight deadline imposed by the U.S., will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It replaces the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Donald Trump had called a job-killing disaster. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump.

New trade deal with Mexico and Canada

President Donald Trump celebrated Monday his latest revamped trade agreement with America’s two neighbors. He is calling the pact for the United States, Mexico and Canada the USMCA.

Trump said the deal has a “good ring to it,” repeating U-S-M-C-A several times.

The agreement was reached late Sunday and gives U.S. farmers greater access to the Canadian dairy market. But it keeps the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) dispute-resolution process that the U.S. wanted to jettison.

Additionally, the agreement offers Canada protection if Trump goes ahead with plans to impose tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts imported into the United States.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s future foreign relations secretary, said the new trade agreement “provides certainty for financial markets, investment and job creation.”

In a joint statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the agreement “will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities.”

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