(The New Yorker) – The seeming intractability of this problem is highly unusual. In a relatively free society and economy, the tendency with any labor-supply shortage, in the face of steady or increasing demand, is that higher wages and other benefits will attract people to the profession, and the problem will largely resolve itself over time. Why has this not been the case with nursing?
(NPR) – But there is a downside to the Sabin vaccine. Unlike the earlier vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk and administered by injection, the oral version contains live polio virus. Under some circumstances, virus from the vaccine can spread, mutate and cause the same paralysis it’s intended to block. It starts when a child who’s been vaccinated sheds live virus in stool. Like regular polio virus, these vaccine-derived strains fan out in places where there’s poor hygiene, particularly when drinking water is contaminated with human sewage.
(Nature) – In September, a network of more than 30 scientists, ethicists, policymakers, journal editors and funders called the Hinxton Group gathered in Manchester, UK, to address the ethical and policy issues surrounding the editing of human genomes in the early stages of development and in germline cells. Similar meetings have been and are being held elsewhere in the world, and several position statements have been published . Indeed, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is hosting what could be the largest such gathering next month, in concert with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society in London.
(Medical News Today) – Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) can become any type of cell in the adult body, offering great potential in disease modeling, drug discovery and creating replacement cells for conditions ranging from cardiovascular to Alzheimer’s disease. But that promise comes with a risk: the possibility that transplanted hPSCs might also develop as unwanted tumors. In a new study published November 10, 2015 in the online journal eLIFE, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine describe a new “progenitor cell” capable of unlimited expansion and differentiation into mature kidney cells, but without the risk of forming tumors.
(New Scientist) – For the first time, the barrier that protects the brain has been opened without damaging it, to deliver chemotherapy drugs to a tumour. The breakthrough could be used to treat pernicious brain diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, by allowing drugs to pass into the brain.
(Physorg) – In an upcoming study in Nature Biotechnology, co-first authors Colin M. Exline, PhD, from USC and Jianbin Wang, PhD, from Sangamo BioSciences describe a new, more efficient way to edit genes in blood-forming or “hematopoietic” stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). “Gene therapy using HSPCs has enormous potential for treating HIV and other diseases of the blood and immune systems,” said co-corresponding author Paula Cannon, PhD, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology, pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology, and stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at USC. “And using genome editing techniques now allows us to make very precise changes that could repair genetic mutations—the gene typos—that can cause disease.”
(Sydney Morning Harold) – Dying is much more complex than just ordering a dose of pills and flicking a switch. And the more we ignore it as a society, the more appealing an “off” switch might seem. Before we consider flicking a switch, we might do well to invest more in giving people more quality time. That’s what palliative care does. To do that, we need to educate doctors about pain management and when and how they can refer people to specialist palliative care.
(Eurekalert) – The continued marketing and use of experimental stem cell-based interventions inside and outside the United States is problematic and unsustainable, according to a new paper by science policy and bioethics experts at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and Wake Forest University. Disillusioned patients, tired of waiting for the cures they were promised, are seeking unproven stem cell-based treatments that are causing more harm than good, said the experts, who argue that public policy is needed to reduce this form of “stem cell tourism.”
(Science Alert) – Pluripotent cells are great, but they can be difficult to steer into growing the way you want. Now scientists have found a new way to create 3D-printed ‘building blocks’ of embryonic stem cells (ESCs), which could be used for growing micro-organs, performing tissue regeneration experiments, testing medication and other biology research purposes. While bioprinting with ESCs is not entirely new, until recently researchers have only managed to produce two-dimensional sheets of cells.
(Eurekalert) – Registering with more than one organ transplant center appears to give an edge to wealthy patients over those with the most medical need, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015. Researchers studied the national database of organ donors from 2000 to 2013 and found that patients who simultaneously listed at more than one center had higher transplant rates, lower death rates while waiting, were wealthier and were more likely to be insured.
Ban on Surrogacy for Foreigners: How Govt’s Recent Decision Will Push a Booming Industry into Black Market
(Economic Times) – Commercial surrogacy is often termed the ‘rent-a-womb’ industry or ‘outsourced pregnancy’ and the rise in the popularity of India as a destination for childless foreign couples seeking a baby through surrogacy has led to the country being termed the ‘baby factory of the world’. Anthony and his wife, whose name he does not wish to reveal, tried surrogacy three times in Toronto and New York, but had no success till they saw Dr Nayna Patel, medical director of Akanksha on Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007. After that episode, foreign couples’ interest in Akanksha exploded.
(CBS News) – Legendary Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett was diagnosed in 2013 with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to depression, dementia and to suicides of NFL players, CBS Dallas reports. Two years later, Dorsett is trying a controversial stem cell treatment thanks to one of his former college football coaches.
(The Pew Charitable Trusts) – Oregon and seven other states—California, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, Nevada and Rhode Island—have laws and procedures that are welcoming to gestational surrogacy, that is, births in which the woman who delivers is not genetically related to the child and will not be its legal parent, according to Creative Family Connections, a Maryland law firm that specializes in surrogacy and tracks state laws related to the practice. The states allow payments to surrogate mothers and permit both intended parents (and not the birth mother) to be named on birth certificates.
(The Lancet) – A new study has projected the considerable public health impact for RTS,S malaria vaccine. The researchers found that over a 15 year time horizon, an average of 116,500 cases of clinical malaria disease and 484 deaths would be averted for every 100,000 children vaccinated under a four-dose schedule of immunizations at 6, 7.5, 9 and 27 months of age.
(The Telegraph) – Rising suicide rates among men should be treated as a national public health issue on a par with smoking, obesity or pollution, a coalition of charity chiefs and experts has insisted. A “crisis of masculinity” in which many men fail to seek help even when catastrophic events hit their lives is leading to tragic consequences for thousands of families, they said.
(New York Times) – The new case concerns religious objections to a requirement under the Affordable Care Act that employers provide coverage for contraception to their female workers or face fines. Houses of worship, including churches, temples and mosques, are automatically exempt from the requirement and do not have to file any paperwork. But the new case concerns a second category of institutions — nonprofit groups like schools and hospitals that are affiliated with religious organizations.
(Deutsche Welle) – There have been many inquiries from Europe about the Oregon law, according to Sean Crowley, the spokesman for Compassion and Choices, the national “death with dignity” organization based in Denver. The British have been particularly interested in the statute, he said, noting that Barbara Coombs Lee, the non-profit organization’s president and driving force behind the Oregon law, has testified before UK lawmakers.
(U.S. News & World Report) – German lawmakers passed a bill Friday allowing assisted suicide for “altruistic motives” but banning the practice in cases where it is being conducted on a “business” basis. The issue is a particularly sensitive topic in a country where the last time euthanasia was part of public policy it was used by the Nazis to kill more than 200,000 people with physical and mental disabilities.
(Eurekalert) – Traveling abroad to receive a kidney from a paid living donor at a commercial transplant center carries considerable risks, according to a study that will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2015 Nov. 3-8 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA. While the ethical aspects of transplant tourism — when patients travel abroad to purchase organs for transplants — have received much attention recently, less has been written about the medical safety of this practice.