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Author Archive: Jon Holmlund

About Jon Holmlund

05/19/2017

Mailbag

Brief comments on four short articles from this week, on disparate topics: James Capretta of the American Enterprise Institute (meaning he is politically right of center) pleads in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for compromise between Republicans and Democrats on further healthcare policy reform.  Arguing that the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) may never pass, he believes that a better result... // Read More »

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05/11/2017

All we like SHEEFs, Part 2

Carrying on with last week’s musings… In thinking further, I think my attempt was confused by conflating the moral status of a SHEEF—a synthetic human entity with embryo-like features, something more than a clump of cells of human origin, but less than a human being—with reasons why I might want to hold that nobody should ever make certain sorts of SHEEFs. Again, SHEEFs are human,... // Read More »

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05/05/2017

All we like SHEEFs (?)

So, how should we address the moral status of synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (“SHEEFs”)? First, we should consider that these are human, as opposed to non-human, if they arise entirely from cells of human origin.  Human/non-human hybrid creatures are just that, and partially human, biologically.  But are any of these human beings, as in, in California the crime of murder is described as... // Read More »

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This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care, Stem Cells and tagged , , , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

05/05/2017

All we like SHEEFs (?)

So, how should we address the moral status of synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (“SHEEFs”)? First, we should consider that these are human, as opposed to non-human, if they arise entirely from cells of human origin.  Human/non-human hybrid creatures are just that, and partially human, biologically.  But are any of these human beings, as in, in California the crime of murder is described as... // Read More »

Full Article

This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care, Stem Cells and tagged , , , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

04/21/2017

Do Extended Pluripotent Stem Cells Raise Ethical Issues?

On April 6, the journal Cell published work (subscription or online article purchase required) from the Salk Institute in San Diego, in which scientists have created a new “reprogrammed” stem cell. These cells are called “extended pluripotent stem cells” or “EPS” cells.  They are different from embryonic stem (ES) cells, which are removed from intact embryos that arise from fertilization—typically requiring specific creation and destruction... // Read More »

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This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care, Stem Cells and tagged , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

04/13/2017

Reining in the SHEEFs

Consider the human embryo… Ordinarily, it arises from the union of a sperm and egg to form a zygote, which is totipotent, that is, able to develop into a full individual.  In our time, fertilization can happen artificially, as with artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization, or naturally through the process that is accessible even to educated fleas.  But the zygote develops into a multicellular... // Read More »

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This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care, Stem Cells and tagged , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

03/17/2017

Equipoise and Caution Regarding “Ethical” Stem-Cell Therapy

You may have seen one of the many news reports this week about an “adult” stem cell treatment gone bad.  In it, doctors, not working in regulated industry or in the bounds of a clinical trial, injected stem cells derived from a person’s fatty tissue into the eyeballs of three people in an attempt to treat a vision-destroying condition called macular degeneration—and all three lost... // Read More »

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This entry was posted in Health Care, Stem Cells and tagged , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

03/09/2017

“Assisted Suicide: The Musical”

The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition for March 4-5, 2017 carried a “Saturday interview” (subscription required) with one Liz Carr, the creator and, I gather, star of a stage production in London called “Assisted Suicide: The Musical.”  In the article, we read that it received a standing ovation from a full house, but the show’s website shows a one-night-only run. The 46 year-old Ms. Carr... // Read More »

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

03/03/2017

Heritable human gene editing and the public

The recent report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine includes a chapter dedicated to public engagement.  Scientists leading gene editing efforts have actively sought broader public engagement, and point out that they desire this input, including from people who disagree with them about it.  They may push to win any arguments, but for the most part they don’t seem to be hiding.... // Read More »

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02/23/2017

Still further on heritable human gene editing

I want to spend a little time—several consecutive posts—on the subject of heritable gene editing in humans, and on the recent report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine on it.  The topic bears more attention than a single blog post, written in a bit of a rush, based on only the initial release of the report, pending a deeper dive.  That is... // Read More »

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