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The first ultra-personalized drug — made for one patient, the only one who will ever take it — is raising all kinds of new questions about how to handle a scenario that's likely to only become more common, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: The drug, described yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, treats the neurological disorder of an 8-year-old girl.

  • The genetic presentation of her disease is unique, but one of her doctors had an idea about how to treat it, which was eventually successful.
  • It's unclear how much developing the drug cost, but the girl's mother and doctor raised $3 million through a foundation and on GoFundMe.

The big picture: This raises huge questions about how to regulate this kind of extreme precision medicine, who should get it and who should pay for it.

  • Researchers will have to decide which of the tens of thousands of patients with rare diseases to prioritize when creating custom drugs.
  • Families would likely end up on the hook to pay for such custom drugs, automatically limiting who has access to them.
  • It's also unclear how much evidence the FDA needs of such a drug's safety and how to evaluate its efficacy.

The bottom line: We now have no choice but to answer these kinds of questions as they play out in real life. Ultra-precision medicine is no longer only theoretical.

Go deeper: The struggle to evaluate drugs

Go deeper

54 mins ago - World

HRW: Over 100 former Afghan security members dead or missing under Taliban rule

Members of the Taliban movement patrol Kabul's airport in September. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The Taliban have "killed or forcibly disappeared" over 100 former members of Afghanistan's security forces since the group took power in August, a Human Rights Watch report published Tuesday found.

Why it matters: It means former military members and officials from the ousted government, activists and other Taliban critics are facing peril amid executions driven by revenge — despite Taliban promises of an "amnesty" with no retributions, notes the New York Times, which first reported the news.

2 hours ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

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