(Science Daily) – Scientists have discovered a way to regrow bone tissue using the protein signals produced by stem cells. This technology could help treat victims who have experienced major trauma to a limb, like soldiers wounded in combat or casualties of a natural disaster. The new method improves on older therapies by providing a sustainable source for fresh tissue and reducing the risk of tumor formation that can arise with stem cell transplants.
(Medical Xpress) – Fixed-dose drug combinations (FDCs) which have not received central regulatory approval are sold in substantial numbers in India—despite concerns over the safety and efficacy of these combinations—according to new research led by Queen Mary University of London and published in PLOS Medicine. FDCs include two or more active pharmaceutical ingredients combined in a single dosage form. They are used as effective treatments for many conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.
(Eurekalert) – Cells dying as the result of radiation exposure or chemotherapy can send a warning to nearby stem cells. The chemical signal allows the stem cells to escape the same fate, University of Washington researchers report in the May 11 issue of the journal Nature Communications.
(U.S. News & World Report) – The Obama administration on Monday took an aggressive stance defending access to contraception, saying President Barack Obama’s health care law requires insurance companies to cover every type of birth control approved by the Food and Drug Administration without patients having to shell out a copay or deductible.
(Medscape) – This study has shown that a lower dose of mifepristone (200 mg, as opposed to the approved 600-mg dose) with buccal administration of misoprostol is effective up until 63 days of gestation. When pregnancies at 43-49 days are used as the reference group, the efficacy of the intervention decreases as gestational age increases—but in absolute numbers, the failure rate and need for aspiration remain very low.
(Eurekalert) – Even with the best available treatments, the median survival of patients with metastatic, hormone-refractory prostate cancer is only two to three years. Driven by the need for more effective therapies for these patients, researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM) have developed a unique approach that uses microscopic gas bubbles to deliver directly to the cancer a viral gene therapy in combination with an experimental drug that targets a specific gene driving the cancer’s growth.
(Medical Xpress) – The United States has a serious shortage of organs for transplants, resulting in unnecessary deaths every day. However, a fairly simple and ethical change in policy would greatly expand the nation’s organ pool while respecting autonomy, choice, and vulnerability of a deceased’s family or authorized caregiver, according to medical ethicists and an emergency physician at NYU Langone Medical Center.
(Nanotechnology Now) – An international team of scientists, including Professor Monica Craciun from the University of Exeter, have pioneered a new technique to embed transparent, flexible graphene electrodes into fibres commonly associated with the textile industry. The discovery could revolutionise the creation of wearable electronic devices, such as clothing containing computers, phones and MP3 players, which are lightweight, durable and easily transportable.
The Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics (vol. 43, no. 1, 2015) is available online by subscription only. Articles include:
- “Free speech and the regulation of reproductive health” by Wendy Parmet
- “Abortion and compelled physician speech” by David Orentlicher
- “Informed decision making and abortion: Crisis pregnancy centers, informed consent, and the First Amendment” by Aziza Ahmed
- “When States regulate emergency contraceptives like abortion, what should guide disclosure?” by Cameron O’Brien Flynn and Robin Fretwell Wilson
Christian Bioethics (vol. 21, no. 1, 2015) is available online by subscription only. Articles include:
- “A new theological framework for Roman Catholic Bioethics: Pope Francis makes a significant change in the moral framework for bioethics” by H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr
- “Pope Francis and Abortion” by Christopher Tollefsen
- “Pope Francis’ potential impact on American bioethics” by John A. Gallagher
(Union Times San Diego) – The use of animals for human transplants is becoming more commonplace – valves from the hearts of pigs and cows have been used in people for decades – and it hasn’t drawn much controversy in San Diego. There’s been far more public agitation over killer whales at SeaWorld and foie gras in restaurants. In other countries, though, particularly England, it’s been hotly debated and the subject of news documentaries and undercover investigations.
(The Guardian) – The powerful tool, known as Crispr, allows the precise and easy manipulation of the DNA in the nucleus of any cell. Make the manipulations in sperm, egg or a one-cell embryo, which is just about to start replicating its DNA, and they can become permanently sealed in the so-called germ line, to be inherited by future generations. Using the procedure on the germ line, Perry inactivated a key gene for mouse coat colour.
(The Guardian) – All Loeb needs, assuming Vergara’s protests can be dealt with, is another human receptacle, a “gestational carrier”, as Nicole Kidman once referred to the woman who gave birth to her second daughter, or “oven”, as a fellow celebrity styled his and his partner’s surrogate. In many US states, the law supports this unsentimental view of the transaction. In contrast, British reproductive law identifies any surrogate to be the legal mother of a child (pending the transfer of parental status), and, uneasily for the intended parents, allows a six-week pause before she relinquishes the baby.
(ABC News) – The national right-to-die group Final Exit Network Inc. goes to trial in Minnesota this week for allegedly assisting in the suicide of a 57-year-old woman who died in 2007 after years of chronic pain. Here’s what you need to know.
(Eurekalert) – One of developmental biology’s most perplexing questions concerns what signals transform masses of undifferentiated cells into tremendously complex organisms, a process called ontogeny. New research by University at Buffalo scientists, published last week in PLOS ONE, provides evidence that it all begins with a single “master” growth factor receptor that regulates the entire genome.
(MSNBC) – The unfolding legal drama between Sofia Vergara and ex-fiance Nick Loeb, who is suing the “Modern Family” actress to bring to term two frozen embryos they created together, offers a rare view into a world where law is still catching up with science. As the Vergara-Loeb conflict shows, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have ushered in an era of confusion and debate about what to do when fertility treatments don’t go as planned.
(Medical Xpress) – Current U.S. health policy requires Medicaid beneficiaries to wait 30 days before tubal sterilization. Ob/gyn experts argue that this violates health care justice as elective tubal sterilization is readily available to women with a private source of payment. Writing in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, they urge obstetricians to advocate for change to eliminate health care injustice in women’s access to elective tubal sterilization.
(The Guardian) – A mother is launching a legal battle for possession of her dead daughter’s frozen eggs so that she can become pregnant with her own grandchild. In what may be the first case of its kind in the world, the 59-year-old woman and her husband, 58, are challenging an independent regulator’s refusal to allow them to take the eggs to a US fertility treatment clinic.
Medico-Legal Journal (vol. 83, no. 1, 2015) is now available online by subscription only. Articles include:
- “Sudden natural death masquerading as accidental death – a case report” by S. Praveen, Sulatha Kamath, M. Usha, and Akshith
- “Manslaughter and the doctor – conviction and sentence” by Alec Samuels
- “Pre(natal) crime: pregnant women, substance abuse and the law” by Nicky Priaulx
Journal of Medical Ethics (vol. 41, no. 3, 2015) is available online by subscription only. Articles include:
- “Conflicting clinical duties” by Michael J. Selgelid
- “The duty to do the best for one’s patient” by Roger Crisp
- “Toward accommodating physicians’ conscientious objections: an argument for public disclosure” by Thomas D. Harter
- “Why religion deserves a place in secular medicine” by Nigel Biggar