(Scientific American) – Geneticist Lei Qu wants to increase goatherd incomes by boosting how much meat and wool each animal produces. For years research projects at his lab in Yulin, a former garrison town along the Great Wall, stumbled along, Qu’s colleagues say. “The results were not so obvious, although we had worked so many years,” his research assistant, Haijing Zhu, wrote in an e-mail. That changed when the researchers adopted the new gene-customizing technology called CRISPR–Cas9, a technique developed in the U.S. about three years ago.
(Washington Post) – While the health information of ordinary Americans may not command as high of a price as a wealthy celebrity’s, opportunistic criminals are beginning to resort to similar schemes targeted at anyone who might potentially be hurt or embarrassed if others had access to information about their mental illness, nose job, abortion, or the fact that they’re going through bottles of Viagra. As hospitals, doctors and pharmacies shift to electronic medical records the issue is becoming one of data security.
(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – For over two decades, stem cells isolated from umbilical cord blood have been successfully used in transplant medicine to treat life-threatening diseases such as leukemia and other cancers, and blood and immune disorders. Umbilical cord blood stem cells have been used in more than 35,000 transplants worldwide. With regenerative medicine continuing to attract interest from scientists and clinicians, umbilical cord blood stem cells are increasingly being investigated for their capacity to induce healing and help repair tissues in conditions that have no cure today.
Global Bioethics Initiative and New York Society for Ethical Culture
July 11–22, 2016
New York City
Click here to apply.
(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an anti-abortion group’s bid to force the federal government to reveal more information about a $1 million grant it made in 2011 to women’s health provider Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire. The nine justices rejected an appeal filed by New Hampshire Right to Life, a group that sued the federal government under freedom of information law to find out about the arrangement.
The Master Scholars Program in Humanistic Medicine, New York University
NYU School of Medicine
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Schwartz E Lecture Hall
New York, New York
Click here to RSVP.
(Medscape) – One year after receiving a single injection of AAV2-hRPE65v2 (SPK-RPE65, Spark Therapeutics, Inc), patients with RPE65-mediated inherited retinal degeneration, or Leber’s congenital amaurosis, were able to easily navigate a poorly lit maze and had improved light sensitivity. “We saw substantial restoration of vision in patients who were progressing toward complete blindness,” said Albert M. Maguire, MD, professor of ophthalmology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Scheie Eye Institute in Philadelphia.
(Daily Mail) – Mexico has become the newest international hotspot for surrogacy as infertile couples from around the world are flocking to the country to ‘rent a womb’. But while some leave with the baby they long desired, a new Channel 4 documentary has revealed that others risk placing the ownership of their child in question due to lax enforcement of contracts between parents and surrogates. The Unreported World programme also spoke to women who volunteered to be surrogates because they were so desperate for money, only to be neglected during their pregnancies and left emotionally scarred if the pregnancy failed.
Clinical Trial Results Disclosure by Large Biopharmaceuticals Falls Below Legal, Ethical Standards: BMJ Study
(Drug, Discovery, & Development) – Bioethics International, a not-for-profit organization focused on the ethics and governance of how medicines are researched, developed, marketed and made accessible to patients around the world, today announced the publication of a study ranking large pharmaceutical companies by transparency of clinical trial results in BMJ Open. In the study, only two-thirds of clinical trials per drug that supported new drug approvals in 2012 were disclosed, falling below legal and ethical standards. In addition, almost half of all reviewed drugs had at least one undisclosed Phase 2 or 3 trial.
(VICE News) – Less than a month before doctor-assisted suicide is legal in Quebec, and there is confusion over the role pharmacists will play in the contentious practice, with some voicing concern over the level of preparation they have received. VICE News spoke with more than half a dozen pharmacists across the province working in both private pharmacies and hospitals, none of whom wanted to identify themselves publicly. While hospital pharmacists said they had received information and some training, private pharmacists painted a different picture.
(Bioscience Technology) – Imagine you have a bone fracture or a hip replacement, and you need bone to form, but you heal slowly – a common fact of life for older people. Instead of forming bone, you could form fat. Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine may have found a way to tip the scale in favor of bone formation. They used cytochalasin D, a naturally occurring substance found in mold, as a proxy to alter gene expression in the nuclei of mesenchymal stem cells to force them to become osteoblasts (bone cells).
(The Guardian) – The number of women and girls with access to modern contraception has increased by 24 million since a landmark family planning pledge in 2012 to improve availability, but progress remains slower than projected and risks leaving millions of women behind. The Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) report, published on Thursday, showed that 290 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries were using modern methods of contraception by July 2015 – an unprecedented number.
(CBS Boston) – It’s the very definition of optimism: a newborn baby. And to keep these little ones the perfect pictures of health, some day in the near future, routine newborn care could include a sci-fi screening that is slowly going mainstream. “Some people have called this the book of life,” explained Dr. Robert Green of Brigham & Women’s Hospital. For the first time ever doctors at Brigham & Women’s and Boston Children’s Hospital are sequencing the genome of newborns. This allows doctors to decode the DNA and look for the possibility of future diseases and conditions.
Impact of Proposed Federal Research Regulation Amendments (the Common Rule NPRM) on Life Sciences Companies
(Bloomberg BNA) – On Sept. 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with 15 other federal departments and agencies,1 issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to revise significantly the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (the “Common Rule”),2 the set of regulations that governs research conducted, funded or otherwise subject to regulation by the federal government. The NPRM marks the first systematic attempt to overhaul the Common Rule since its promulgation in 1991, and sets forth proposals to modify requirements for biospecimen research, improve the understandability of consent forms, mandate single institutional review board (IRB) oversight of cooperative U.S. research and establish data security safeguards.
(Times of India) – This ban is certainly going to dent the earnings of surrogate mothers, but it’s not going to be that large. But what’s worse is the Centre is looking to ban commercial surrogacy altogether. It wants to institute only altruistic surrogacy , where no money will be exchanged. Look, the cat is out of the bag -the businesses are set, doctors have invested in equipment, networks are established. To think that you can turn the clock back and go back to altruistic surrogacy is downright ridiculous. The Centre has no interest in regulating surrogacy, and helping surrogate mothers achieve a life of dignity. Now, they are expected to gift their labour and hardship.
Medical Law Review (vol. 23, no. 4, 2015) is available online by subscription only.
- “Who’s In Charge? The Relationship between Medical Law, Medical Ethics, and Medical Morality?” by Charles Foster and José Miola
- “In Search of a Father: Legal Challenges Surrounding Posthumous Paternity Testing” by Ruth H. Stirton and Mark J. Wilkinson
- “An Assessment of the Court’s Role in the Withdrawal of Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration from Patients in the Permanent Vegetative State” by Simon Halliday, Adam Formby, and Richard Cookson
- “Ethics, Embryos, and Evidence: A Look Back at Warnock” by Natasha Hammond-Browning
- “Access of Single Women to Fertility Treatment: A Case of Incidental Discrimination?” by Atina Krajewska
The Journal of Medicine & Philosophy (vol. 40, no. 6, 2015) is available online by subscription only.
- “Taming Our Brave New World” by Joshua A. Reagan
- “Surrogate Motherhood: A Trust-Based Approach” by Katharina Beier
- “Procreative Beneficence, Intelligence, and the Optimization Problem” by Ben Saunders
- “In Genes We Trust: Germline Engineering, Eugenics, and the Future of the Human Genome” by Russell Powell
- “The Ethics of Human Life Extension: The Second Argument from Evolution” by Christ Gyngell
(New York Times) – The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a challenge to a Texas law that would leave the state with about 10 abortion clinics, down from more than 40. The court has not heard a major abortion case since 2007, and the new case has the potential to affect millions of women and to revise the constitutional principles governing abortion rights.
(Washington Post) – The number of autism cases in the United States appeared to jump dramatically in 2014 according to new estimates released Friday, but researchers said that changes in the format of the questionnaire likely affected the numbers. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Health Statistics shows that the prevalence of autism in children ages 3 to 17 went up nearly 80 percent from 2011-2013 to 2014.
(Washington Post) – A lot of people who don’t have health insurance worry about getting hit with huge bills if they go to the hospital. Most consumers probably don’t realize that many hospitals are supposed to let you know if you qualify for free or reduced-price care–and charge you fairly, even if you don’t have insurance. But a recent study found that less than half of nonprofit hospitals surveyed were telling patients they could be eligible for charity care.