(Medical Xpress) – A new study by the University of Texas Medical Branch found that 20 percent of men were prescribed testosterone despite having normal testosterone levels based on the Endocrine Society’s guidelines. The study also found that 39 percent of new testosterone users did not have a prostate cancer screening during the year before treatment and 56 percent were not screened during the year after starting treatment.
(Washington Post) – The United States faces a shortage of as many as 90,000 physicians by 2025, including a critical need for specialists to treat an aging population that will increasingly live with chronic disease, the association that represents medical schools and teaching hospitals reported Tuesday. The nation’s shortage of primary care physicians has received considerable attention in recent years, but the Association of American Medical Colleges report predicts that the greatest shortfall, on a percentage basis, will be in the demand for surgeons — especially those who treat diseases more common to older people, such as cancer.
(Los Angeles Times) – More than 1.5% of babies born in 2013 owe their lives to in vitro fertilization, and fewer of them were twins or triplets, according to new figures from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. A total of 63,286 babies were born as a result of 174,962 attempts to use assisted reproduction treatments, the SART report says. Both figures represent small increases from 2012.
(New York Times) – The F.D.A. has allowed 23andMe to market genetic tests for mutations directly to the public. The agency said that, for the most part, so-called carrier tests would no longer need advance approval before being marketed this way. But 23andMe is also offering access to its data for research, opening up questions about privacy and anonymity. Should commercial companies share genetic information for research purposes? Is it an invasion of privacy or is the potential for scientific breakthrough more important?
(NIH) – Good morning, Chairman Cole, Ranking Member DeLauro, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. I am Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., and I am the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is an honor to appear before you today to present the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request for the NIH, and provide an overview of our central role in enhancing the nation’s health through scientific discovery.
New Nanodevice Defeats Drug Resistance: Tiny Particles Embedded in Gel Can Turn Off Drug-Resistant Genes, Then Release Cancer Drugs
(Nanotechnology Now) – Chemotherapy often shrinks tumors at first, but as cancer cells become resistant to drug treatment, tumors can grow back. A new nanodevice developed by MIT researchers can help overcome that by first blocking the gene that confers drug resistance, then launching a new chemotherapy attack against the disarmed tumors.
(Irish Times) – Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said “altruistic” surrogacy will be allowed under new legislation but commercial surrogacy will banned. Mr Varadkar acknowledged that some countries had banned surrogacy but the Government had taken a view that it should be permitted in Ireland.“But only on an altruistic basis, not as a commercial operation, not for money or for profit by anyone,” he said.
(Lung Cancer News Today) – In a new study entitled “Graphene oxide selectively targets cancer stem cells, across multiple tumor types: Implications for non-toxic cancer treatment, via “differentiation-based nano-therapy” researchers showed that graphene oxide, a nanomaterial, specifically targets lung cancer stem cells (as well as stem cells from other cancers) and inhibits their proliferation, while leaving healthy cells untouched. The study was published in the advanced online edition of the journal Oncotarget.
(Medscape) – Fertility doctors don’t give standing ovations very often. But when a team of Swedish doctors announced at a recent conference the first-ever birth of a baby to a woman who had a womb transplant, it nearly blew the doors off the room.
(The Telegraph) – A pioneering new stem cell treatment is allowing multiple sclerosis sufferers to walk, run and even dance again, in results branded ‘miraculous’ by doctors. Patients who have been wheelchair-bound for 10 years have regained the use of their legs in the groundbreaking therapy, while others who were blind can now see again. The treatment, is the first to reverse the symptoms of MS, which has no cure, and affects around 100,000 people in Britain.
(Business Standard) – In an extremely rare case, a 60-year-old woman in Austria has given birth to twins following IVF treatment. It is only the second time a woman 60 years or older has given birth in Austria since 1970. The woman gave birth to twins in a clinic in Wels-Grieskirchen in Upper Austria, following in-vitro fertilisation treatment (IVF) treatment, ‘The Local’ reported.
(Medical News Today) – When receiving information about treatment options and prognosis, advanced cancer patients favor doctors who provide more optimistic information and perceive them to be more compassionate when delivering it. This is according to a new study published in JAMA Oncology.
(News-Medical) – Writing in the February 25 online issue of the journal PLOS ONE, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with collaborators from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), have definitively shown for the first time that the culture conditions in which stem cells are grown and mass-produced can affect their genetic stability.
(Drug Discovery & Development) – In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers have devised a single-step fermentative method for the industrial production of the active drug pravastatin that previously involved a costly dual-step fermentation and biotransformation process.
(Health Canal) – The survival rates of HIV-positive patients who have received kidney transplants from HIV-positive donors are showing significant success, according to a recently published paper by UCT academics. A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine (12 February 2015) shows that kidney transplants from HIV-positive deceased donors is a viable additional treatment option for selected HIV-infected patients (on antiretroviral treatment) who need renal replacement therapy.
(Medscape) – Lawmakers in the United Kingdom voted recently to allow fertility clinics to use mitochondrial manipulation technology (MMT) to enable women with mutations in mitochondrial genes to have genetically healthy children . But the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is being much more conservative and is awaiting results of further preclinical research before allowing clinical trials to begin. The technology is of concern because it manipulates the germline, something many countries prohibit.
(Medical Xpress) – Since the first experimental bone marrow transplant over 50 years ago, more than one million hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (HSCT) have been performed in 75 countries, according to new research charting the remarkable growth in the worldwide use of HSCT, published in The Lancet Haematology journal. However, the findings reveal striking variations between countries and regions in the use of this lifesaving procedure and high unmet need due to a chronic shortage of resources and donors that is putting lives at risk.
(Eurekalert) – Researchers have for the first time successfully converted adult human skin cells into neurons of the type that regulate appetite, providing a patient-specific model for studying the neurophysiology of weight control and testing new therapies for obesity. The study, led by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), was published last month in the online issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
(BioScience Technology) – Genetically engineered T memory stem cells (Tscm) can last more than 12 years in patients’ bodies, and can continually generate appropriate T cell armies for them, says an innovative study looking at two historic clinical trials. It was known that mature human memory T cells could persist—if no one knew for how long. And it was theorized that recently discovered human Tscm cells could persist—if again, no one knew for how long.
The Journal of Ethics (Volume 19, No. 1, March 2015) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Public reason and prenatal moral status” by Jeremy Williams
- “Manipulation and the zygote argument: another reply” by Markus E. Schlosser