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Babies with a Rare Form of Epilepsy Depend on This Drug. The Maker Stopped Selling It.

Bioethics News - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 15:33

(Miami Herald) – The medicine has had a powerful effect. Seizures that once struck multiple times an hour now come once every five or six days. But the drug came with a deadline: At the end of June, GlaxoSmithKline, the British drug company that sells Potiga, pulled it off the market because of declining sales, forcing families to stockpile supplies or wean their children off a drug that dramatically improved their quality of life. The dilemma faced by parents whose children benefited from Potiga – and future families who potentially may never have access to the drug – highlights the limitations of drug companies’ business model.

When Torture Becomes Science

Bioethics News - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 15:30

(New York Times) – Was the Central Intelligence Agency’s post-9/11 “enhanced interrogation” program an instance of human experimentation? Recently declassified documents raise this explosive question. The documents were obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in connection with a federal lawsuit scheduled for trial next month. The case was brought on behalf of three former detainees against two psychologists who developed the C.I.A.’s program. I reviewed some of the documents in a recent article in The Texas Law Review.

Orphan Black Is Ending, but How Far Has Human Cloning Come?

Bioethics News - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 15:24

(The Verge) – With the end of Orphan Black imminent, we’re looking at the real world for our fix of real science straddling the world of science fiction. Since the show began airing in 2013, have we gotten any closer to the future of extreme body modifications and human cloning that Orphan Black has so often teased? I spoke with Paul Knoepfler, a biology professor at UC Davis, and John Quackenbush, professor of biostatistics and computational biology at Harvard and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, to see how far away we are from some of the show’s most outrageous inventions.

Hospitals Slashed Use of Two Heart Drugs after Huge Price Hikes

Bioethics News - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 15:18

(Kaiser Health News) – Even before media reports and a congressional hearing vilified Valeant Pharmaceuticals International for raising prices on a pair of lifesaving heart drugs, Dr. Umesh Khot knew something was very wrong. Khot is a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, which prides itself on outstanding heart care. The health system’s pharmacists had alerted doctors about the skyrocketing cost of the drugs, nitroprusside and isoproterenol. But these two older drugs, frequently used in emergency and intensive care situations, have no direct alternatives.

Cancer’s Newest Miracle Cure

Bioethics News - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 14:57

(TIME) – In a calculated gamble, her doctors suggested a radical new option: becoming a test subject in a trial of an experimental therapy that would, for the first time, use gene therapy to train a patient’s immune system to recognize and destroy their cancer in the same way it dispatches bacteria and viruses. The strategy is the latest development in immunotherapy, a revolutionary approach to cancer treatment that uses a series of precision strikes to disintegrate cancer from within the body itself.

Has the venerable Belmont Report passed its use-by date?

Sanctity of Life News - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 09:45
Art Caplan calls for a complete overhaul

A Quebec ‘mercy killing’ prompts a rethink on euthanasia law

Sanctity of Life News - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 09:40
Calls for legalisation of advance directives for dementia patients Read more...

German interest in racial theories foreshadowed in WWI

Sanctity of Life News - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 09:29
The strange adventure of an Aboriginal Australian in a WWI POW camp Read more...

A cool idea for an afterlife

Sanctity of Life News - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 09:25
Two bioethicists discuss the morality of 'cryothanasia'

Scientists one step closer to interspecies organ transplants

Sanctity of Life News - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 04:46
A landmark study has reopened the door for xenotransplantation research. Read more...

US Senate passes ‘right to try’ law

Sanctity of Life News - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 04:41
Bioethicists are critical of new Right To Try laws. Read more...

Artificial womb keeps lambs alive, raising hope for preemies

Sanctity of Life News - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 04:37
Researchers have successfully used an artificial womb to incubate premature lambs. Read more...

New York doctor told to stop marketing 3-person IVF technique

Sanctity of Life News - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 04:33
A New York IVF clinic has been told by the FDA to stop marketing Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy. Read more...

These Scientists Took over a Computer by Encoding Malware in DNA

Bioethics News - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 12:36

(The Atlantic) – DNA is fundamentally a way of storing information. Usually, it encodes instructions for making living things—but it can be conscripted for other purposes. Scientists have used DNA to store books, recordings, GIFs, and even an Amazon gift card. And now, for the first time, researchers from the University of Washington have managed to take over a computer by encoding a malicious program in DNA.

People Back Editing Genes to Treat Disease, but Are Wary of Inheritable Changes

Bioethics News - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 12:35

(NPR) – People generally think that editing human genes might be OK, but most think that there’s a clear line that shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to changing traits that would be passed down to new generations, according to a survey reported Thursday. It’s not an abstract question. Earlier this month, gene editing made headlines after scientists in Oregon reported they had successfully corrected a genetic defect in human embryos in the laboratory. Along with the potential to prevent some diseases, this technology also comes with complicated ethical questions, including what kind of gene edits would be acceptable and who could benefit or be harmed.

‘Intersex’ Athletes to Learn if They Will Be Forced to Take Drugs to Suppress Testosterone

Bioethics News - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 12:19

(Telegraph) – ‘Intersex’ athletes will learn next month whether they will be forced to take drugs to suppress their testosterone levels, amid an ongoing row which could tarnish the World Championships in London. South Africa’s Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Kenya’s Margaret Wambui could all medal in the 800m final on Sunday, but there have been claims that they are helped to victory by naturally high levels of the male sex hormone.

Test Uses Nanotechnology to Quickly Diagnose Zika Virus

Bioethics News - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 12:10

(Eurekalert) – Washington University in St. Louis researchers have developed a test that quickly detects the presence of Zika virus in blood. Currently, testing for Zika requires that a blood sample be refrigerated and shipped to a medical center or laboratory, delaying diagnosis and possible treatment. Although the new proof-of-concept technology has yet to be produced for use in medical situations, the test’s results can be determined in minutes. Further, the materials required for the test do not require refrigeration and may be applicable in testing for other emerging infectious diseases.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: Better IVF Results?

Bioethics News - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 12:06

(Medscape) – The need to transfer fewer embryos while maintaining or increasing PRs prompted research of various embryo evaluation methods. Most embryos created in vitro are aneuploid and, therefore, do not or only rarely implant. Preimplantation assessment of chromosome content could enable the provider to transfer euploid embryos only. Results of screening with preimplantation genetic diagnosis for aneuploidy (PGD-A) have been mixed. Newer technologies have been shown to improve outcomes in young patients with a good prognosis. Good data on patients with a less favorable prognosis are unavailable, however.

A Physician Explores ‘A Better Path’ to the End of Life

Bioethics News - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 11:10

(NPR) – My guest is a critical care and palliative care physician who is among the health care professionals trying to find a more humane approach to helping people as they reach the ends of their lives. Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter wants to help patients avoid what she describes as the end-of-life conveyor belt, where they are intubated, catheterized and die attached to machines, frequently without even knowing they’re dying.