Hurricane Harvey’s Public-Health Nightmare; Sanofi Quietly Pulls the Plug on Its Zika Vaccine Project; The First Drugs Designed to Fight Aging Are Ready for Human Testing; Skepticism Surfaces over CRISPR Human Embryo Editing Claims and More …
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RESOURCES & ANNOUNCEMENTS
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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2017 Conference Audio Sets Now Available
2017 CONFERENCE AUDIO AVAILABLE
Audio for the 2017 summer conference, Genetic & Reproductive Technologies, is now available for purchase. It includes access to the complete conference plenaries and panel discussion along with all parallel paper sessions. Also, audio from our 2016 conference, Transformations in Care, is now being offered at a reduced price.
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OTHER BIOETHICS EVENTS
MATTHEW BULFIN EDUCATIONAL CONFERENCE
American College of Pediatricians & AAPLOG
Trinity International University
September 29 – October 1, 2017
Deerfield, IL
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NEWS HIGHLIGHTS
The First Drugs Designed to Fight Aging Are Ready for Human Testing
(Quartz) — Earlier this week, doctors at the Mayo Clinic and the Scripps Research Institute published a review article in the Journal of American Geriatrics calling and outlining designs for human clinical trials on the first class of drugs developed specifically to treat aging. The “geroscience hypothesis” is relatively new to the world of accepted science. It states that targeting the fundamental mechanisms of aging can help treat or delay the onset of age-related diseases like type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and various forms of cancers. The idea is to increase healthspan: the years in which people are viable, active members of society. The subtext though, is that these treatments also have the potential to delay aging itself. …
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IBM Pitched Its Watson Supercomputer as a Revolution in Cancer Care. It’s Nowhere Close
(Stat News) — But three years after IBM began selling Watson to recommend the best cancer treatments to doctors around the world, a STAT investigation has found that the supercomputer isn’t living up to the lofty expectations IBM created for it. It is still struggling with the basic step of learning about different forms of cancer. Only a few dozen hospitals have adopted the system, which is a long way from IBM’s goal of establishing dominance in a multibillion-dollar market. And at foreign hospitals, physicians complained its advice is biased toward American patients and methods of care. …
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Hurricane Harvey’s Public-Health Nightmare
(The Atlantic) — Every flood disaster is also a public-health disaster, and even as Harvey dissipates over the Gulf Coast, the beginnings of that secondary calamity were on display in the Houston area. During the worst of the flooding, hospitals faced critical shortages of food and medicine, people with serious chronic diseases had to make difficult decisions between evacuation and sheltering in place, and hundreds of victims faced prescription shortages and mental-health issues. And based on the health problems people in New Orleans and elsewhere in the region faced after Hurricane Katrina, experts expect major public-health emergencies, environmental illnesses, and outbreaks will only intensify in the aftermath of Harvey. or have suffered relapses. …
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Novartis Charged Much More in the U.S. for Some Drugs Than in Other Countries
(STAT News) — In 2014, the most recent year for which data was available, Novartis (NVS) headquarters in Switzerland charged its U.S. subsidiary significantly more for four medicines than what its subsidiaries paid in roughly a dozen other countries. These included several well-to-do nations such as the U.K., Germany, and France. And the difference in pricing ranged anywhere from 45 percent to 176 percent, after adjusting for currency fluctuations and packaging. …
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Massive Ebola Data Site Planned to Combat Outbreaks
(Nature) — More than 11,000 people died when Ebola tore through West Africa between 2014 and 2016, and yet clinicians still lack data that would enable them to reliably identify the disease when a person first walks into a clinic. To fill that gap and others before the next outbreak hits, researchers are developing a platform to organize and share Ebola data that have so far been scattered beyond reach. The information system is coordinated by the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO), an international research network based at the University of Oxford, UK, and is expected to launch by the end of the year. At a meeting to discuss Ebola on 7–9 September in Conakry, Guinea, the team heading the platform will seek input from West African scientists, health officials and advocacy groups. …
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Sanofi Quietly Pulls the Plug on Its Zika Vaccine Project
(STAT News) — Vaccine giant Sanofi Pasteur has quietly pulled the plug on its Zika vaccine project, a move that underscores how difficult it may be at this stage to develop a vaccine against the virus. The company announced the move in a statement posted on its website at 3 p.m. Friday, pointing to a decision by a federal funding body to scale back spending on Zika-related research. Sanofi said BARDA — the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services — informed the company in mid-August that it was reducing its financial assistance for Sanofi’s Zika vaccine project. …
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US Overdose Deaths from Fentanyl and Synthetic Opioids Doubled in 2016
(The Guardian) — The number of drug overdose deaths in the US increased by 21% last year, according to new statistics – with synthetic-opioid fatalities more than doubling in number. The National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) estimates that drug overdoses killed 64,070 people in the US last year, a rise of 21% over the 52,898 drug overdose deaths recorded in 2015. The epidemic of drug overdoses is killing people at almost double the rate of both firearm and motor vehicle-related death. The statistics posted on the CDC website are the latest available on the gathering opioid crisis. The agency says they will be updated on a monthly basis. …
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Skepticism Surfaces over CRISPR Human Embryo Editing Claims
(Science) — But such a feat has not been observed in previous CRISPR experiments, and some scientists are now questioning whether the repairs really happened that way. In a paper published online this week on the preprint server bioRxiv, a group of six geneticists, developmental biologists, and stem cell researchers offers alternative explanations for the results. And uncertainty about exactly how the embryos’ DNA changed after editing leaves many questions about the technique’s safety, they argue. (The authors declined to discuss the paper while it’s being reviewed for publication.) …
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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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