Btn Rss Bioethics News.

06/23/2017

Don’t let Europe’s open-science dream drift

Nature

Now that the major players have agreed to the giant European Open Science Cloud, it’s time to get the project moving.

06/22/2017

Strategies for Promoting High-Quality Care and Personal Resilience in Palliative Care

AMA Journal of Ethics

Palliative care (PC) clinicians are faced with ever-expanding pressures, which can make it difficult to fulfill their duties to self and others and lead to moral distress.

06/21/2017

China cracks down on fake peer reviews

Nature

The Chinese government is going on the offensive against scientists who dupe journals by creating fraudulent reviews of submitted papers. A coalition of agencies led by the science ministry announced on 14 June that the government would suspend the grants of researchers involved in such fraud, which surfaced earlier this year when a cancer journal retracted 107 research papers from Chinese authors. And funding agencies in China promised to increase policing of the scientific community to prevent similar deceptions.

06/20/2017

Trump ‘simply does not care’ about HIV/AIDS, say 6 experts who just quit his advisory council

Washington Post

The first hints of an uncertain future for the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS came last year, when Donald Trump’s presidential campaign refused to meet with advocates for people living with HIV, said Scott Schoettes, a member of the council since 2014. That unease was magnified on Inauguration Day in January, when an official White House website for the Office of National AIDS Policy vanished, Schoettes said. Last week, he and five others announced they were quitting the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, also known as PACHA.

06/20/2017

Legionnaires’ cases among newborns raise questions about water births

CNN

Cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been documented at hotels, gyms and even health care facilities, but a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that even newborns are being infected — after water births.

06/16/2017

Biologists debate how to license preprints

Nature

Biology’s zeal for preprints — papers posted online before peer review — is opening up a thorny legal debate: should scientists license their manuscripts on open-access terms? Researchers have now shared more than 11,000 papers at the popular bioRxiv preprints site. But where some researchers allow their bioRxiv manuscripts to be freely redistributed and reused, others have chosen to lock them down with restrictive terms.

06/15/2017

A fetus needs to defend itself against foreign bodies—so how does it avoid attacking its mother?

Science

The immune system of a fetus developing in the womb faces a quandary: It has to prepare itself to attack dangerous pathogens after birth, by distinguishing its own cells from those of invaders. But until that time, it needs to avoid attacking the mother, whose cells are also “foreign.” A new study of fetal tissue has revealed one way the developing immune system keeps itself in check: by interrupting the production of a key weapon in the body’s arsenal against invaders.

06/14/2017

Heaven over hospital: Dying girl, age 5, makes a choice

CNN
Julianna Snow is dying of an incurable disease. She’s stable at the moment, but any germ that comes her way, even just the common cold virus, could kill her. She’s told her parents that the next time this happens, she wants to die at home instead of going to the hospital for treatment. If Julianna were an adult, there would be no debate about her case: She would get to decide when to say “enough” to medical care and be allowed to die. But Julianna is 5 years old. Should her parents have let her know how grave her situation is? Should they have asked her about her end-of-life wishes? And now that those wishes are known, should her parents heed them?

06/13/2017

University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, said to be in a coma, released from North Korea

Washington Post

University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier has been medically evacuated from North Korea in a coma after being detained for 17 months, his parents told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

06/12/2017

New clues to why a French drug trial went horribly wrong

Science

Although Bial and Biotrial have been heavily criticized for the study, French authorities have concluded that the companies did not violate clinical trial regulations. In the wake of the case, the European Medicines Agency is developing stricter rules for “first-in-human” studies.

06/09/2017

How Should Physicians Respond When the Best Treatment for an Individual Patient Conflicts with Practice Guidelines about the Use of a Limited Resource?

AMA Journal of Ethics

Physicians might not be able to find a best solution or process for resolving more difficult ethical dilemmas, such as how they should best distribute limited resources. They could, however, pursue a path that most respects and benefits their patients and themselves.

06/08/2017

In Switzerland, a giant new machine is sucking carbon directly from the air

Science

The world’s first commercial plant for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air opened yesterday, refueling a debate about whether the technology can truly play a significant role in removing greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

06/07/2017

Next-generation cancer drugs boost immunotherapy responses

Nature

An approach to unleashing immune responses against cancer is showing promise in early clinical trials, and may boost the effectiveness of existing therapies. The experimental drugs target a protein called IDO, which starves immune cells by breaking down the crucial amino acid tryptophan. IDO can suppress immune responses and rein in potentially damaging inflammation. But it can also halt the body’s natural immune response to cancer and allow tumours to grow unchecked.

06/06/2017

Superantibiotic is 25,000 times more potent than its predecessor

Science

The world’s last line of defense against disease-causing bacteria just got a new warrior: vancomycin 3.0. Its predecessor—vancomycin 1.0—has been used since 1958 to combat dangerous infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. But as the rise of resistant bacteria has blunted its effectiveness, scientists have engineered more potent versions of the drug—vancomycin 2.0. Now, version 3.0 has a unique three-pronged approach to killing bacteria that could give doctors a powerful new weapon against drug-resistant bacteria and help researchers engineer more durable antibiotics.

06/05/2017

Unsafe delivery of measles vaccine kills 15 children in South Sudan

CNN

In a remote village in South Sudan, 15 children died from severe toxicity caused by contaminated measles vaccines, government health investigators said Thursday. The National Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee, supported by the World Health Organization, and UNICEF vaccine safety experts examined the cases and those of 32 other children who suffered fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

06/02/2017

‘This is not the end’: Experimental therapy that targets genes gives cancer patients hope

Washington Post

Stefanie Joho was 22 when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She has been in remission for more than a year thanks to an immunotherapy treatment aimed at a genetic glitch, rather than aiming at the disease itself like chemotherapy does.

06/01/2017

NIH scales back plan to curb support for big labs after hearing concerns

Science

Faced with a barrage of criticism, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has scaled back a plan to cap its support for individual labs in order to free up funds for more scientists.

05/31/2017

Colombian biologist cleared of criminal charges for posting another scientist’s thesis online

Nature

A Colombian biologist who faced a criminal trial for posting another scientist’s thesis online has been cleared of copyright violation — an offence that, under Colombian law, might have brought him a jail sentence.

05/30/2017

Tissue-independent cancer drug gets fast-track approval from US regulator

Nature

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued its first approval of a cancer drug that targets tumours with specific mutations, regardless of where in the body the tumour first took root. This deviates from the agency’s previous approach: although a drug’s use may have been linked to the presence of a particular molecular marker, the FDA still required individual approvals to deploy that drug based on the tumour’s location. The announcement on 23 May expands the use of pembrolizumab, manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. of Kenilworth, New Jersey. The drug boosts the body’s ability to attack tumours by blocking a protein called PD-1, which normally holds the immune system in check.

05/29/2017

House science panel joins Trump in questioning research overhead payments

Science

A hearing on how the U.S. government defrays the cost of doing federally funded research on college campuses might put most people to sleep. But when budgets are tight, the billions of dollars being spent each year on so-called overhead become an irresistible target for lawmakers. This past Wednesday, the science committee of the U.S. House of Representatives weighed in on the subject, one that is at the core of the U.S. research enterprise but also exceedingly complicated. The hearing gave Republicans an opportunity to voice support for lowering overhead payments, which cover things like electricity, lab maintenance, regulatory compliance, and administration.

05/26/2017

Rice plant engineered with a ‘tunable’ immune system could fight multiple diseases at once

Science

05/25/2017

Fixing the tomato: CRISPR edits correct plant-breeding snafu

Nature

From their giant fruits to compact plant size, today’s tomatoes have been sculpted by thousands of years of breeding. But mutations linked to prized traits — including one that made them easier to harvest — yield an undesirable plant when combined, geneticists have foundIt is a rare example of a gene harnessed during domestication that later hampered crop improvement efforts, says geneticist Zachary Lippman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. After identifying the mutations, he and his colleagues used CRISPR gene editing to engineer more productive plants — a strategy that plant breeders are eager to adopt.

05/24/2017

Safety and immunogenicity of a live attenuated influenza H5 candidate vaccine strain A/17/turkey/Turkey/05/133 H5N2 and its priming effects for potential pre-pandemic use: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

The Lancet

The emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses has raised concerns about their pandemic potential. Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing influenza. In this study, we investigated the safety and immunogenicity of an avian H5N2 live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV H5N2) in healthy Thai adults and its priming immune responses with an H5N1 inactivated vaccine boost.

05/23/2017

U.S. flower sellers rush to destroy illegal GE petunias

Science

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that U.S. flower distributors have begun to destroy countless petunia plants after federal scientists confirmed that they were genetically engineered (GE) to produce vivid orange, red, and purple blooms. The agency says the flowers pose no risk to the environment or to human health, but GE organisms need special permits to be sold in the United States.

05/22/2017

Fentanyl seized by law enforcement doubled in 2016, DEA says

CNN

The United States is seeing a dramatic increase in drugs containing fentanyl, newly released data from the Drug Enforcement Administration shows. From 2015 to 2016, more than twice as many drugs seized by law enforcement agencies and submitted to labs have tested positive for fentanyl, in what appears to be an escalating trend.

05/19/2017

For Tuskegee Syphilis Study Descendants, Stigma Hasn’t Faded

The New York Times

For 40 years starting in 1932, medical workers in the segregated South withheld treatment for unsuspecting men infected with a sexually transmitted disease simply so doctors could track the ravages of the horrid illness and dissect their bodies afterward. Finally exposed in 1972 , the study ended and the men sued, resulting in a $9 million settlement. Twenty years ago this May, President Bill Clinton apologized for the U.S. government. It seemed to mark the end of this ugly episode, once and for all. Except it didn’t.

05/18/2017

From Silence into Language: Questioning the Power of Physician Illness Narratives

AMA Journal of Ethics

Physicians’ narratives of their own experiences of illness can be a kind of empathic bridge across the divide between a professional healer and a sick patient. This essay considers ways in which physicians’ narratives of their own and family members’ experiences of cancer shape encounters with patients and patients’ experiences of illness.

05/17/2017

Will vaccine help curb new Ebola outbreak in the DRC?

Science

Ebola has surfaced in a remote part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the first outbreak of the disease since the West African epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people before it came to an end 2 years ago. A vaccine proved its worth in the West African epidemic—which hit major cities—but it still is awaiting approval from regulatory agencies, and the DRC government has yet to request its use for this outbreak.

05/16/2017

Soft Climate Denial at The New York Times

Scientific American

In our so-called post-truth era, when the White House itself is brazenly peddling alternative facts as official news, it is more important than ever for the media to speak truth to power. When The New York Times launched its post-election ad campaign on “The Pursuit of Truth”—featuring a 30 second TV spot aired during the Academy Awards, along with print and billboard ads—it positioned the Pulitzer-laden paper on the side of courageous and responsible journalism. Weeks after advertising itself as the guardian of truth, however, TheTimes hired a conservative climate skeptic by the name of Bret Stephens as its newest Op-Ed columnist.

05/15/2017

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo

WHO

On 11 May 2017, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of DRC informed WHO that of the five samples collected from suspected cases, one tested positive by RT-PCR for Ebola virus subtype Zaire at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa. Additional specimens are currently being tested and results, including sequencing, are awaited to describe the outbreak.