Experimental Drug That Mutes Defective Genes Raises New Hopes; The United States Is Failing Its Mothers; Silicon Isn’t Just for Computers. It Can Make a Pretty Good Kidney, Too; Artificial Organs Used in Operations without Approval for Humans and More …
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Haploid Stem Cells
ETHICS DURING EMERGENCIES
​What types of ethical considerations do natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes raise? In this piece from the Dignitas archives, Dr. Gregory Rutecki (MD) argues that we live in "an entire culture that has blurred the lines between relief of suffering and killing," in his article "What Has Culture Really Decided about Emergencies and Euthanasia?"
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Call for Proposals: Bioethics & Being Human
CALL FOR PROPOSALS:
2018 CBHD SUMMER CONFERENCE
Paper and poster proposals are now being accepted for the upcoming CBHD summer conference, Bioethics & Being Human. All serious proposals relevant to the study of bioethics are welcome. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2017.
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OTHER BIOETHICS EVENTS
BIOETHICS: BIBLICAL PRINICIPLES AND MINISTRY APPLICATIONS
Reformed Theological Seminary Washington
October 13 – 14, 2017
McLean, VA
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NEWS HIGHLIGHTS
Experimental Drug That Mutes Defective Genes Raises New Hopes
(Scientific American) — The RNAi delivery systems remain highly complex—and the most effective technologies are still protected by patents that make it difficult for startups to get into the field. Safety concerns persist with other RNAi drugs in development: Last year, for instance, Alnylam had to scrap revusiran, one of its most advanced drugs. Rather than alleviating it, the drug exacerbated pain in a rare nerve disease called transthyretin amyloidosis. And several patients died in the clinical trial, though it’s still not clear exactly why. Alnylam’s stock plummeted by half on that news. …
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Parents Lobby States to Expand Newborn Screening Test for Rare Brain Disorder
(NPR) — ALD is a genetic brain disorder depicted in the 1992 movie Lorenzo’s Oil, which portrayed a couple whose son became debilitated by the disease. The most serious form of the illness typically strikes boys between the ages of 4 and 10. Most are diagnosed too late for treatment to be successful, and they often die before their 10th birthday. The more De Nies learned about ALD, the more she realized how fortunate the family was to have discovered Gregory’s condition so early. Her son’s blood was tested when he was about 10 months old. …
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Silicon Isn’t Just for Computers. It Can Make a Pretty Good Kidney, Too
(Wired) — Now, after more than 20 years of work, one team of doctors and researchers is close to offering patients an implantable artificial kidney, a bionic device that uses the same technology that makes the chips that power your laptop and smartphone. Stacks of carefully designed silicon nanopore filters combine with live kidney cells grown in a bioreactor. The bundle is enclosed in a body-friendly box and connected to a patient’s circulatory system and bladder—no external tubing required. …
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The United States Is Failing Its Mothers
(Nature) — Yet between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality rate in the United States climbed by 56%, rising from 16.9 deaths per 100,000 births to 26.4, according to a recent study that was published in The Lancet. What caused this rise? Many people have theories but no one knows for sure. Over the past two decades, there have been no consistent documentation and analysis. Without quality data, there is no way to understand the causes of this trend. …
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Charlatans Threaten Stem Cell Research with Unproven Cures, Experts Say
(The Guardian) — The credibility of stem cell research is at risk because of charlatans and dodgy clinics peddling unproven cures for diseases, according to a group of eminent scientists in the field. Stem cell research, or regenerative medicine, has great potential and has already delivered some breakthroughs, but its future is threatened by poor science, unrealistic hopes, unclear funding models and unscrupulous private clinics, they say in the Lancet medical journal. A special Lancet commission made up of leading experts has reviewed the progress to date in a field that was once thought to offer answers potentially to all forms of disease and disability. …
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Two Patients Show the Promise of a Historic Treatment, with an Equally Historic Price Tag
(CNBC) — The outcomes for Kaitlyn and Justin are part of the mysteries of medicine: why a cutting-edge therapy works for years for one person, and just months for another. Notably, this situation has been worked into Kymriah’s pricing. If the treatment is controlling patients’ cancer after a month, its price tag is $475,000. “The CAR-T therapy is administered to all patients who need it,” Novartis’ Bradner explained. “If the medicine is working at a fixed period of time, then Novartis is compensated. And if it doesn’t, then we feel good at having provided this chance for that patient.” …
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Artificial Organs Used in Operations without Approval for Humans
(New Scientist) — Experimental implants manufactured at University College London were sent abroad and used on patients despite not having approval for human use, an inquiry has found. The implants included an artificial windpipe, a synthetic tear duct and an arterial graft. The inquiry, led by Stephen Wigmore of the University of Edinburgh at the request of UCL, was triggered by the university’s relationship with Paolo Macchiarini, a surgeon at the centre of a scandal in which six of eight patients who received synthetic windpipes died. …
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Chinese Scientists Fix Genetic Disorder in Cloned Human Embryos
(Nature) — team in China has taken a new approach to fixing disease genes in human embryos. The researchers created cloned embryos with a genetic mutation for a potentially fatal blood disorder, and then precisely corrected the DNA to show how the condition might be prevented at the earliest stages of development. The report, published on 23 September in Protein & Cell is the latest in a series of experiments to edit genes in human embryos. And it employs an impressive series of innovations, scientists say. Rather than replacing entire sections of genes, the team, led by Junjiu Huang at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, tweaked individual DNA letters, or bases, using a precision gene-editing technology developed in the United States. …
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Note: News stories and events do not necessarily represent the Center's views. For additional commentary on many of the issues they raise, please see the CBHD web site at www.cbhd.org. Please visit www.bioethics.com for daily posts on bioethics news and issues.
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