May 4, 2012 1:34 pm
A growing number of health research programs are collaborating with community groups to conduct research. The groups help recruit study participants, obtain informed consent, collect data and provide input on study design and procedures. But existing programs that educate researchers, community groups and institutional review boards about research ethics “fail to meet the needs of all groups that have a role in community-engaged research,” according to an article in the Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics.
May 3, 2012 1:00 pm
In 2010, two research teams separately analyzed data from the same U.K. patient database to see if widely prescribed osteoporosis drugs increased the risk of esophageal cancer. They came to surprisingly different conclusions. ’You can troll the data, slicing and dicing it any way you want,’ says S. Stanley Young, of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences. One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found no increase in patients’ cancer risk. The second study, which ran three weeks later in the British Medical Journal, found the risk for developing cancer to be low, but doubled. Which conclusion was correct?
May 2, 2012 11:09 am
A British ophthalmologist who headed a US laboratory involved in pioneering stem cell research fabricated the results of a non-existent pilot experiment in applying for two federal grants, the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has found. Peter Francis, who has resigned from his job as associate professor and director of the Translational Clinical Trials Center at Oregon Health and Science University’s Casey Eye Institute, was granted permanent US residency on the basis of the country’s national interest in attracting clinical researchers.
May 1, 2012 11:08 am
A lot of recent research exposes how little we know about the XX body. A report in the February 2010Annals of Internal Medicine found that women with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are more likely than men to develop complications. The reason? Testing was done primarily on men, who tend to be physically larger. Stephanie Brister, a surgeon at Toronto’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, would like to see women-only randomized clinical trials for ICDs, though she’s not optimistic. “It’s not cost-effective,” she says. “More likely we’ll try to increase the number of women, then hopefully we’ll have a substantial representation with real information.”
April 25, 2012 11:46 am
It is rather odd how often I hear the expression paradigm shift during contemporary scientific presentations and seminars. The expression was popularized by Thomas Kuhn’s book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In that book, Kuhn referred to ground-breaking and revolutionary changes in scientific thought as paradigm shifts, but the expression is so over-used today that even minor discoveries are sometimes marketed as paradigm shifts. However, once in a while a true paradigm shift does come along and I believe we are currently witnessing such an emerging paradigm shift: open science.
April 24, 2012 11:45 am
Pressure is growing on researchers to do a better job of communicating the results of clinical trials to the volunteers who participated. As WSJ’s Informed Patient reports, groups like the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research are stepping up programs to help match patients to clinical trials. Meanwhile, new FDA regulations that went into effect last month require that trial results be included in the federal ClinicalTrials.gov website after studies are completed.
April 24, 2012 11:41 am
A growing number of patient-advocacy groups are playing matchmaker, linking patients to researchers who need them for clinical trials. The move comes as a persistent shortage of volunteers has slowed trials of new treatments for cancer and other diseases, which typically involve a patient receiving a drug or a placebo. People, including healthy volunteers, also are urgently needed for studies to contribute to the overall understanding of diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, experts say.
April 23, 2012 5:52 pm
Step aside, DNA—new synthetic compounds called XNAs can also store and copy genetic information, a new study says. And, in a “big advancement,” these artificial compounds can also be made to evolve in the lab, according to study co-author John Chaput of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.
April 23, 2012 5:51 pm
Over the past two decades, the popular press has been in love with the idea of a genetic revolution. But the mood has changed. Headlines such as “A.M.A. Heralds a Genetics Revolution” (The New York Times, 1993) and “Genetics: The Future Is Now” (Time Magazine, 1994) have been replaced with banners that drip disappointment, such as “The Failure of the Genome” (The Guardian, 2011), “Did They Oversell the Genomic Revolution?” (Globe and Mail, 2011) and from a recent New York Times article: “Study Says DNA’s Power to Predict Illness Is Limited.”
April 23, 2012 5:51 pm
Last year, cancer researcher Robert Mandic got news no scientist wants to hear. After publishing a paper on a rare head-and-neck cancer, he learned the cells he had been studying were instead cervical cancer. He notified the journal Oral Oncology, which retracted the article. ”To base something on wrong data is bad, so it needs to be reported and I did,” said Dr. Mandic, a researcher at the University Hospital Giessen and Marburg in Germany. “But it wasn’t pleasant to call.” Dr. Mandic entered a largely secret fellowship of scientists whose work has been undermined by the contamination and misidentification of cancer cell lines used in research labs around the world.