Modern Medical Research Laboratory with Computer Showing Virus Genome Research Software. Scientific Laboratory Biotechnology Development Center Full of High-Tech Equipment.

How Artificial Intelligence is Revolutionizing Drug Discovery

By Matthew Chun

In recent months, generative artificial intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm. AI systems like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion have captured the imagination of the masses with their impressive and sometimes controversial ability to generate human-like text and artwork. However, it may come as a surprise to some that — in addition to writing Twitter threads and dating app messages — AI is also well underway in revolutionizing the discovery of life-saving drugs.

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Asthma inhalers on table against blurred background.

Monthly Round-Up of What to Read on Pharma Law and Policy

By Ameet Sarpatwari Liam Bendicksen, and Aaron S. Kesselheim

Each month, members of the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) review the peer-reviewed medical literature to identify interesting empirical studies, policy analyses, and editorials on health law and policy issues relevant to current or potential future work in the Division.

Below are the abstracts/summaries for papers identified from the month of January. The selections feature topics ranging from a study of inhaler manufacturers’ revenues after the expiration of primary patents, to an analysis of the clinical value of drugs that companies heavily market to consumers on television, to an exploration of how the public sector and academic institutions have contributed to gene therapy innovation. A full posting of abstracts/summaries of these articles may be found on our website.

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Gas stove burner with burning gas. Sale and purchase of gas fuel.

The Public Health Case Against Gas Appliances

By Heather Payne and Jennifer D. Oliva

Gas appliances’ health impacts pose a grave danger to tenant health and safety.

In a forthcoming article, we argue that the mere presence of natural gas appliances in the home renders a dwelling uninhabitable due to their potential health harms. We further contend that tenants should invoke the implied warranty of habitability to eliminate the continued exposure to natural gas appliance-generated indoor air pollutants.

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3D Rendering Crispr DNA Editing.

Responding to the Comeback of He Jiankui, ‘The CRISPR Baby Scientist’: Lessons from Criminal Justice Theory

By Matthew Chun

He Jiankui — a high-profile Chinese scientist convicted for conducting unethical gene-editing experiments — has been released from prison and is currently fundraising for his new gene therapy endeavor. As the scientific community grapples with how to respond, theories of criminal justice can provide important perspectives to better inform the conversation surrounding Dr. He’s return to research.

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Remarkable macro view through the microscope at process of the in vitro fertilization of a female egg inside IVF dish in the laboratory. Horizontal.

That’s Criminal: The Choices Fertility Specialists May Have to Make

By Gerard Letterie

Fertility care operates in a delicate emotional space that demands complete trust across the consult table. Trust that decisions will be made with the patient’s best interests. Trust that guidance will be offered exclusive of any other competing influence, be it financial, personal, or convenience.

In a post-Dobbs setting, new, restrictive laws may disrupt this delicate equilibrium. This concern is materializing with an increasing velocity as states look to further limit reproductive autonomy.

Next in the crosshairs might be the disposition of embryos in the context of IVF. Dobbs has energized the pro-life movement to expand beyond abortion to other reproductive technologies within the context of the catchphrase “life begins at conception.”

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La Plata, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina; 12 04 2020: Claim of legalization of abortion in Argentina. Woman with green scarves protested in front of the church.

Decriminalizing Abortion in Argentina: 8 Takeaways from the Inflection Point of Legalization

By Alicia Ely Yamin

In December of 2020, Argentina’s Congress passed Law 27.610, which overhauled the country’s previously restrictive legal framework on abortion. Law 27.610, “Access to Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy,” created two kinds of legal abortion: (i) IVE (its acronym in Spanish, which translates to “Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy”), which allows any person to request an abortion up to 14 weeks gestation; and (ii) ILE (which stands for “Legal Interruption of Pregnancy”), which makes abortion available at any point in a pregnancy for cases involving rape, and where there is a threat to the life or “integral health” of the pregnant person.

Around the world, when countries have taken steps to liberalize abortion access, these new laws have proven challenging to implement, as in Ireland and South Africa. As with any country, lessons from Argentina are deeply contextualized. Nonetheless, the Argentine experience offers insights to consider for countries at different stages of abortion struggles.

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