Blog

Perspectives on Public Purpose

Aug. 18, 2020

For Emerging Technologies

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Perspectives on Public Purpose,” https://www.belfercenter.org/tapp-blog.

57 posts

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On December 1st, the Technology and Public Purpose (TAPP) Project hosted its third and last panel Policymaking in Web3 as part of a three-part Perspectives in Web3 Virtual Series. It was joined by legal scholars, lawyers and policy researchers who work at the forefront of this domain, including Primavera De Filippi, Research Director at the National Center of Scientific Research and Faculty Associate at Harvard’s Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society; Connor Spelliscy, Executive Director of the DAO Research Collective; Miles Jennings, General Counsel and Head of Decentralization of a16z Crypto; David Kerr, Principal of Cowrie LLC; and Lindsey Kelleher, Senior Policy Manager at Blockchain Association.

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Neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) are a class of disorders that cause the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons, leading to declines in cognitive and physical abilities. Drug discovery and development for these diseases is a complex, multi-stakeholder process involving a variety of entities across the United States, including government agencies, businesses, research institutions, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations. These stakeholders interact with each other at various stages of the non-linear cycle of drug development, which typically involves a range of activities including pre-clinical research, clinical trials, regulatory approval, and commercialization.

Given the complexity of this process and the challenges involved in developing effective treatments for NDDs, it is important to better understand the role of different stakeholders and the potential barriers they face. This blog aims to provide a deeper examination of the various stakeholders involved in NDD drug discovery and development, and to offer an initial hypothesis on key challenges that may be contributing to the lack of disease-altering therapies for these conditions.

*This blog is part of a series titled TAPP for Neurodegenerative Diseases Drug Discovery: Mapping the ecosystem

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As highlighted in our initial blog post, the neurodegenerative disease (NDD) drug development space has seen little progress compared to other disease areas such as cancer and immunology. A number of factors contribute to a lack of curative or disease-altering therapies addressing NDD including a poor understanding of the pathophysiology of most NDDs and historically lower investment as opposed to other disease areas. However, the use of policy instruments has the potential to drive progress and improve NDD drug development. This article introduces our research on the impact of key policies on NDD drug development. It also presents our initial findings on the effectiveness of current policies and identifies areas where further action is needed.

*This blog is part of a series titled TAPP for Neurodegenerative Diseases Drug Discovery: Mapping the ecosystem

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In recent years, there has been an increased focus on finding treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as the prevalence of these diseases continues to rise globally. This blog aims to provide an overview of the sources and trends of funding for neurodegenerative disease research, with a particular focus on comparing funding for these diseases with that of other classes of diseases. By examining historical funding trends and the current sources of funding, we seek to shed light on the current state of the funding ecosystem for neurodegenerative disease research. We will also explore how funding is allocated across different types of neurodegenerative diseases and discuss potential bottlenecks in the funding process that may be hindering progress in the development of therapies.

*This blog is part of a series titled TAPP for Neurodegenerative Diseases Drug Discovery: Mapping the ecosystem

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On November 17th, the Technology and Public Purpose (TAPP) Project hosted its second panel Investing in Web3 as part of a three-part Perspectives in Web3 Virtual Series. It was an especially timely discussion given the series of events which have unfolded over the last few weeks surrounding the collapse of FTX, formerly the second largest centralized crypto exchange platform. Joining the conversation wereNick Ducoff of G20 Ventures,Lauren Stephanianof Pantera Capital, andBrandon Hoffmanof Sunset Ventures. This blog serves as an event recap and outlines some key takeaways from the event.

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Neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS represent a global health crisis affecting more than nine million people in the United States alone. NDDs are caused by progressive loss of central nervous system neurons - currently, there is no cure to reverse this loss. The only approved therapies are palliative or mildly reduce some symptoms. In this blog, the author introduces ways technology and public policy can improve the drug discover process to "cure the uncureable" - setting the stage for his larger research project this academic year.

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On October 20th, the Technology and Public Purpose Project's fellows Sarah Hubbard and Helena Rong hosted Mary-Catherine (MC) Lader of Uniswap Labs, Joshua Tan of Metagov, and Scott Fitzsimons of CityDAO to join them in conversation about Building in Web3 as the first panel in a three-part Perspectives in Web3 Virtual Series. This blog serves as an event recap and outlines some key takeaways from the event.

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"One way to restore trust [in institutions like local government] is to empower citizens to play a greater role in shaping their cities through more direct participation in local city development and policymaking, as this would allow cities to better reflect the needs of their residents."

Throughout this blog, Technology and Public Purpose Fellow Helena Rong introduces the concept of participatory urban development and planning as an interesting model for democratic processes; highlights how DLTs such as blockchain and its associated concepts of "tokenization" could potentially contribute to building digital tools that elevate fundamental principles of democracy, such as public participation and ownership; and finally, outlines the goals and objectives of her fellowship project that will aim to dive into some of the key questions stated above.

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While the buzzwords and acronyms related to web3 have received a lot of attention and hype, in this piece, we look at what they really mean and why they matter. We start with a macro-lens on the societal trends that have contributed to the growth in this space, dive into “web3” and decentralized autonomous organizations, or "DAOs," and identify a few areas for further research.  

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On a fall afternoon in 2019 I stood at a desk in the U.S. Senate and watched on my computer screen, appalled as a researcher in Germany demonstrated how he could view medical images– XRays, MRI’s, mammograms– as they were uploaded onto the internet in real time. According to the researcher, Dirk Schrader, over 114 million images belonging to roughly 5 million Americans in 22 states were exposed on the internet.