Targeting the Toughest Diseases:
A podcast

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Did you know that ancient Egyptians detected type 1 diabetes using ants? Or that there’s even a link between muscular dystrophy and autism? In Targeting the Toughest Diseases — a podcast created in partnership with Vertex and Bloomberg Media Studios — we hear the stories of people living with these and other serious diseases, from experts all over the world who explain the often little-known histories of these conditions, and about how Vertex is using innovative tools, methods and a unique philosophy to search for treatments and cures.

Listen to the available episodes below and subscribe today. 

An image of Jordan Gass-Pooré smiling on a park bench

Jordan Gass-Pooré

About the host

Jordan Gass-Pooré (she/her/hers) is the host of Targeting the Toughest Diseases, and is an award-winning podcast producer and investigative journalist with more than a decade of journalism experience. She is a member of the University of Southern California’s Center for Health Journalism and has produced CNN’s podcasts, “Chasing Life” and “Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction,” both hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. 

Presently, Jordan is the creator, producer and host of “Hazard NJ,” a limited-series podcast about the impacts of climate change on hazardous Superfund sites in New Jersey. This podcast is in collaboration with the PBS affiliate NJ Spotlight News. She is also a producer of the investigative podcast “Sounds Like Hate,” created by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Until 20 Productions. 

Jordan has a master’s degree in investigative journalism from City, University of London and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas State University.

Series trailer

Bloomberg Targeting the Toughest Diseases podcast logo
Introducing: Targeting the Toughest Diseases

Targeting the Toughest Diseases looks at some of humanity’s most challenging diseases and how Vertex is using innovative tools, methods and a unique philosophy to search for treatments and cures. Produced in partnership with Bloomberg Media Studios – listen to our series trailer and subscribe today.

To access a script of the series trailer, click here.



Cystic fibrosis

An image of Boomer Esiason holding a football with a blue overlay
Targeting Cystic Fibrosis

NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason’s career high came just days before his son was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) – a genetic disease characterized by thick and sticky mucus that interferes with breathing, digestion and the body’s ability to fight infections. Esiason now dedicates his free time to raising awareness to help fund the search for a cure. We explore how Vertex’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. David Altshuler, and the research team at Vertex have spent the last 20+ years researching the underlying cause of the disease – and their work is not yet finished.

To access a script of this episode, click here.



APOL1-mediated kidney disease

An image of former NBA player Alonzo Mourning holding a basketball in his right hand with a yellow overlay
Targeting Genetic Kidney Disease

NBA great Alonzo Mourning returned home from the Sydney Olympics after winning the gold medal feeling ill. He surprisingly was diagnosed shortly after with kidney disease. Scientists have discovered his type of kidney disease is linked to having genetic variants of the APOL1 gene – ones that 13% of people with African ancestry carry. Dr. Ogo Egbuna leads clinical development for the team researching APOL1-mediated kidney disease at Vertex where they’re investigating small molecule therapies to target its underlying cause.

To access a script of this episode, click here.



Type 1 diabetes

An image of Madison Carter with a green overlay
Targeting Type 1 Diabetes

Madison Carter is a fearless investigative reporter. She takes no day for granted because she lives with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Dr. Doug Melton is a world-renowned stem cell researcher and distinguished fellow at Vertex – and his now grown children, Sam and Emma, live with T1D. Along with scientists like Dr. Felicia Pagliuca, who leads Vertex’s research into T1D, he's been on a quest to help Madison, Sam, Emma and others like them by investigating the disease at a cellular level.


To access a script of this episode, click here.



Duchenne muscular dystrophy

An image of John Killian with a light green overlay
Targeting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Before John Killian's toddler son was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), doctors told parents to simply take their children home and love them. The disease weakens the body's muscles and cognitive functions, which can lead to premature death. John’s son is now college-bound, thanks to the help of medical advancements that target the symptoms of the disease. Geneticist Dr. Alison McVie-Wylie and the research team at Vertex hope to move past only treating the symptoms of DMD by addressing the disease at its root cause.

To access a script of this episode, click here.