A Spate of Deadly Disasters for the Elderly; California Combats Deadly Hepatitis A Outbreak; FDA Approves a Game-Changer Treatment for Blood Cancer; Puerto Rico Investigates Post-Hurricane Disease Outbreak; Why We Need a Registry for the Long-Term Risks of Egg Donors and More …
November 3, 2017 Donate to CBHD
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THE BIOETHIC WEEKLY THE CENTER FOR BIOETHICS & HUMAN DIGNITY
RESOURCES & ANNOUNCEMENTS
12 Ways Artificial Wombs Change the World
CHANGING THE WORLD ONE WOMB AT A TIME
CBHD Executive Director, Paige Cunningham, is featured in an article recently put out by The Federalist about the development of the use of artificial wombs to help premature babies mature-a technology scientists say is less than 10 years away. While it has some promising uses, what implications will it bring with it?
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Call for Proposals: Bioethics & Being Human
CALL FOR PROPOSALS DEADLINE EXTENDED 2 WEEKS
Due to request, the deadline to submit paper and poster proposals for the upcoming CBHD summer conference, Bioethics & Being Human, has been extended to Wednesday, November 15. All serious proposals relevant to the study of bioethics are welcome.
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NEWS HIGHLIGHTS
Infusions of Young Blood Tested in Patients with Dementia
(Nature) — The first controlled, but controversial and small, clinical trial of giving young blood to people with dementia has reported that the procedure appears safe. It has also hinted that it may even produce modest improvements in the daily lives of people who have Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers who conducted the trial and others caution that the results are based on just 18 people and therefore are only a first step in exploring this type of treatment. “This is a really very small trial and the results should not be over-interpreted,” says Tony Wyss-Coray, a neurologist at Stanford University in California who led the study. The trial was conducted by his start-up company Alkahest, which is based in San Carlos, California. …
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Eugenics 2.0: We’re at the Dawn of Choosing Embryos by Health, Height, and More
(MIT Technology Review) — IVF clinics already test the DNA of embryos to spot rare diseases, like cystic fibrosis, caused by defects in a single gene. But these “preimplantation” tests are poised for a dramatic leap forward as it becomes possible to peer more deeply at an embryo’s genome and create broad statistical forecasts about the person it would become. The advance is occurring, say scientists, thanks to a growing flood of genetic data collected from large population studies. …
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Bitter CRISPR Patent War Intensifies
(Nature) — The long-running battle over US patents for CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing continues. On 25 October, the Broad Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts, filed a fresh set of arguments with the US government to defend a key patent. That action helps to set the stage for a second round of oral arguments in the unusually vitriolic case, which observers expect to take place in early 2018. A decision is anticipated to follow shortly thereafter. In the filing, lawyers for the Broad and its collaborators argued that its opponent, a team that includes the University of California, Berkeley, has failed to provide new evidence that would undermine the legitimacy of the Broad’s patent. The lawyers also used the University of California’s own press releases as a sign that the case should be thrown out. …
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U.S. Oversight of Risky Pathogen Research Has Flaws, Report Finds
(Science) — The program that keeps watch over the management of dangerous pathogens at research laboratories still isn’t up to snuff, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The Federal Select Agent Program, run jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), regulates how government, academic, and industry labs store, use, and transfer 66 potentially harmful organisms and toxins, including anthrax and plague. It has faced new scrutiny from Congress and GAO in recent years after a string of safety incidents involving select agents at laboratories run by the federal government. …
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Bogus Breast Cancer Tests Are Putting Women’s Lives in Danger
(Quartz) — Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about advertisements for thermograms falsely claiming the technology could be as good or better than mammograms. In 1982, the FDA approved thermograms for breast-cancer screening—but only in conjunction with regular mammograms. Although thermography is not harmful in and of itself, there’s no scientific evidence that actually can detect breast cancer on its own. Since 2016, the FDA has issued two warnings to companies advertising preventative breast cancer screenings. …
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MSF Says Closing Most Cholera Centers in Yemen as Epidemic Wanes
(Reuters) — The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) is closing most of its 37 cholera treatment centers in Yemen, saying the epidemic appears to have peaked. Some 884,368 suspected cholera cases have been recorded in the war-torn country in the past six months, including 2,184 deaths, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO). The case fatality rate is now 0.25 percent. …
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Saudi Arabia, Which Denies Women Equal Rights, Makes a Robot a Citizen
(Washington Post) — The kingdom of Saudi Arabia officially granted citizenship to the humanoid robot last week during a program at the Future Investment Initiative, a summit that links deep-pocketed Saudis with inventors hoping to shape the future. Sophia’s recognition made international headlines — and sparked an outcry against a country with a shoddy human rights record that has been accused of making women second-class citizens. …
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CRISPR Gene Editor Can Now Alter RNA as Well as DNA
(Chemistry World) — The therapeutic potential of the Crispr/Cas genome editing tool continues to grow, as US scientists have developed a version of the system that targets RNA and chemically alters its nucleotides. As RNA is ultimately translated to make proteins, being able to edit it could be advantageous for research and gene therapy applications, says Feng Zhang who led the team behind the research at the Broad Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. …
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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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