Tag: biotechnology

Blog Posts (24)

August 27, 2014

Direct cell reprogramming to grow a new organ and the ice bucket challenge

A recent article in The Guardian reports on an interview with Clare Blackburn of the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh where they have recently been able to induce a direct transformation of mouse skin fibroblasts into thymic epithelial cells. When these induced thymic epithelial cells were mixed with other thymus cell types and transplanted into mice they grew... // Read More »
August 23, 2014

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides…

I just finished reading a very dry book on organizational theory as applied to reproductive medicine. The book was a Swedish observational study evaluating the sociomaterial aspects of that subspecialty, particularly Swedish IVF clinics. While the book did not directly address ethical issues in reproductive medicine, it did note some of them in passing. One that caught my eye was issue of the choice of... // Read More »
August 7, 2014

More on Allocation vs Rationing

A comment to my post from last week started with the statement, “The whole discussion [of whether discussions of value are just Trojan Horses for unjust rationing] would be less strained if money wasn’t so scarce in health care.”  If by this is meant, conversations about medical expenses would be easier if the prices weren’t so high—well, sure.  If what is meant is more like,... // Read More »
August 5, 2014

Attending to Attention

It’s hard not to notice that the idea of “attention” is on a lot of people’s minds. In just one week my desk received a copy of The Hedgehog Review,, the monthly Turning Points Magazine & Devotional, and an e-mail message from a parent all dealing with this subject. Since the advent of a DSM diagnoses involving deficits of attention (initially linked to hyperactivity), the... // Read More »
July 24, 2014

The upcoming debate over “CIRM 2”–CORRECTION

(I made an error about a past video involving the late actor Christopher Reeve in my post yetsterday. I strongly implied, at least, that such a video was used in the 2004 campaign for passage of California Prop. 71.  That would not be correct.  The video in question, easily found on YouTube, was aired [it indicates there] by Nuveen Investments during the 2000 Super Bowl.... // Read More »
July 23, 2014

Information technology and medicine

If you browse through the posts on this bog you will find that many of us have concerns about how information technology has inserted itself between physicians and patients and can interfere with the relationship that we see as essential in medical care. I have been an advocate of electronic medical records for a number of years and helped with the design of the outpatient... // Read More »
July 11, 2014

The Recent Stem Cell News

Last week’s edition of Nature includes developments in the world of stem cell research, also noted in the general press: First: A group from Portland, San Diego, and Stockholm published work (payment required to read article) seeking to define the “best” human pluripotent stem cells on cellular and molecular grounds.  They compared: Stem cells taken from an embryo, created in IVF and destroyed for the... // Read More »
June 14, 2014

Making Babies; the New “Normal”

Once upon a time in a fairy tale land that now seems far, far away, young people fell in love, got married, and started a family. But the idea of “starting a family” has taken on new meaning as pregnancy has come under the rubric of technological control. Increasingly, it is not about having children but about “making babies.” With the advent of technology and... // Read More »
June 12, 2014

Germline Alteration and Defining “Just Research”

Yesterday’s post by Steve Phillips raises a central question for us in the “biotech century”:  are there some sorts of experiments that fundamentally ought not be done because of the potential they will be grossly misapplied by bad actors?  Steve cited research by Lord Robert Winston seeking to create genetically altered pigs—that seem, from the description in the press, to be what scientists call “transgenic”... // Read More »
June 12, 2014

Great Suffering Software

[BioEdge] Most bioethical discourse deals with tangible, nitty-gritty situations like surrogate mothers, stem cells, abortion, assisted suicide, or palliative care. But there is a theoretical avant garde in bioethics, too. Theoretical bioethics tries to anticipate ethical issues which could arise if advanced technology becomes available. There are always a lot of ifs – but these are what bring joy to an […]

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Published Articles (5)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 11 Issue 1 - Jan 2011

?Doctor, Would You Prescribe a Pill to Help Me ? ?? A National Survey of Physicians on Using Medicine for Human Enhancement

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 8 Issue 6 - Jun 2008

Review of C. B. Mitchell, E. D. Pellegrino, J. B. Elshtain, J. F. Kilner, and S. B. Rae. Biotechnology and the Human Good

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 8 Issue 6 - Jun 2008

Response to Open Peer Commentaries on Justifying a Presumption of Restraint in Animal Biotechnology Research

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 8 Issue 6 - Jun 2008

Justifying a Presumption of Restraint in Animal Biotechnology Research

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 7 Issue 10 - Oct 2007

Biotechnology and the New Right: Neoconservatism's Red Menace

News (3)

September 10, 2013 4:20 pm

Programmable DNA 'Glue' Self-Assembles Cells

Scientists interested in engineering tissue would like to find a way to get cells and other biological components to organize and assemble into an organ similar to the way they do naturally.

November 13, 2012 5:29 pm

Injectable Sponge Delivers Drugs, Cells, and Structure (R&D)

Bioengineers at Harvard have developed a gel-based sponge that can be molded to any shape, loaded with drugs or stem cells, compressed to a fraction of its size, and delivered via injection. Once inside the body, it pops back to its original shape and gradually releases its cargo, before safely degrading.

July 3, 2012 5:13 pm

A Surgical Implant for Seeing Colors Through Sound (The New York Times)

In his discussions with the hospital bioethics committee, Mr. Harbisson argued that this surgical technique could be used on other people. He said in particular that more sophisticated versions of the sensor could be used for reading, perhaps reducing the need for Braille.