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Will State Voters Continue to Pour Money into Stem Cell Research?

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 11:06

(NPR) – Today, 14 years and billions of dollars later, that California agency is running out of money, and backers of stem cell research plan to ask voters in the state to pony up for round two. The projected ask this time: $5 billion, in a measure the backers hope to place on the California ballot in 2020. For voters this time, there will be one major question, says Zev Yaroslavsky, a former member of the Board of Supervisors for Los Angeles County, and now a specialist in state politics and government at UCLA: “The public will want to know,” he says, “what they’ve gotten for their money.”

Gene Editing Needs to Be Available to Everyone

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 11:02

(Bloomberg) – As one would expect, the ethical and moral implications of this technology are already sparking heated debate. That is good. But there are also economic implications, some of which interact with the ethical issues, and these are worth considering. Crispr promises to create a large amount of economic value. Beyond simply editing out the genes for cancer, heart disease or arthritis, people might be able to use the technique to improve both their happiness and their productivity.

How Many Botched Cases Would It Take to End Euthanasia of the Vulnerable?

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 10:54

(Washington Post) – The euthanasia of mentally ill or cognitively impaired patients is inherently controversial. Given the risk of fatal error, how many botched cases would it take to discredit the practice completely? If you said “any number greater than zero,” you would be interested in the physician-assisted death of a 74-year-old woman with dementia in the Netherlands in 2016. The circumstances were so disturbing, even the Dutch regulatory body that retrospectively reviews, and usually rubber-stamps, euthanasias could not countenance it.

An Ultrasound on Instagram Suggested the Baby Could Be in Danger. Does a Physician Have a Duty to Warn?

Bioethics News - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 15:37

(STAT News) – As practicing physicians and ethicists, that made us wonder: If we see something medically worrisome on social media, are we as doctors obliged to say something? In the exam room, it’s our duty to talk to our patients about car seat safety for the young children. But when friends post photos of their adorable children improperly buckled into a car seat, do we have a duty as physicians to contact them?

Italy Reports 4,991 Measles Cases Amid Politicized Debate

Bioethics News - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 15:20

(ABC News) – Italy’s health ministry says 4,991 cases of measles were reported last year, a nearly six-fold increase over 2016 that has been blamed in part on a highly politicized debate over vaccines. Italy’s measles epidemic, which killed four people last year, has already caught the attention of the World Health Organization and other global health authorities.

More Birth Defects in U.S. Areas with Zika: U.S. Health Officials

Bioethics News - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 15:15

(Reuters) – The mosquito-born Zika virus may be responsible for an increase in birth defects in U.S. states and territories even in women who had no lab evidence of Zika exposure during pregnancy, U.S. health officials said on Thursday. Areas in which the mosquito-borne virus has been circulating, including Puerto Rico, southern Florida and part of south Texas, saw a 21 percent rise in birth defects strongly linked with Zika in the last half of 2016 compared with the first half of that year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its weekly report on death and disease.

Scientists Don’t Fear a New Crispr Snag

Bioethics News - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 14:36

(Bloomberg) – The news item under the “might not work” headline described an unpublished but credible study out of Stanford University, which used samples of human blood to demonstrate that some forms of Crispr-based therapies might set off a dangerous immune response. One of the authors of the paper, Stanford pediatrics professor Matthew Porteus, said the take-home message isn’t that Crispr might not work in people, but that it might work in principle, and that a scientist somewhere might make a fatal mistake and that could set everything back for years.

Researchers Develop Synthetic, Bacteria-Killing Virus

Bioethics News - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 14:33

(UPI) – Researchers at University College London on Wednesday announced they have developed a laboratory-built virus that kills unwanted bacteria on contact. The breakthrough, detailed in a study published in the journal Nature Communications, comes from researchers at UCL, as well as Britain’s National Physical Laboratory. They created a synthetic hollow shell 20 nanometers wide, or less than 0.0000008 inch, which emulates naturally occurring viruses. The artificial viruses recognize and then destroy the membranes of bacteria.

Surgeons Trained Outside of Universities Do Just Fine

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 15:41

(Reuters) – General surgeons who trained in residency programs at community hospitals can achieve patient outcomes that are similar to their peers who were trained in university hospitals, a U.S. study suggests. Researchers examined data on practice patterns for about 3,600 general surgeons and more than 1.2 million patients, representing 214 surgical training programs in Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. They also looked at clinical outcomes for more than 321,000 patients of nearly 2,300 surgeons.

Philadelphia Takes Bold Step Toward Opening Drug Injection Sites

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 15:31

(CNN) – Philadelphia is welcoming private organizations to set up medically supervised drug injection sites amid an unprecedented rise in overdose deaths in recent years, city officials announced Tuesday. The walk-in facilities would also offer access to sterile needles, the opioid overdose-reversing drug naloxone, wound care and referral to social services. There are currently no legally sanctioned supervised injection sites in the United States.

In a Scientific First, Cloned Monkeys Are Born. Will They Accelerate Biomedical Research?

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 15:24

(STAT News) – There have been mice and cows and pigs and camels, bunnies and bantengs and ferrets and dogs, but ever since Dolly the sheep became the first cloned mammal in 1996, the list has had a conspicuous hole: primates. Now that hole has been filled. Scientists in China reported on Wednesday in Cell that they had cloned two healthy long-tailed macaque monkeys from the cells of another macaque, using the Dolly technique. The two clones, born 51 and 49 days ago, were created from a fetus’s cells; so far, the scientists have not been able to make the tricky procedure work when they used cells from adult macaques.

Scientists Create Hair-Thin Implant That Can Drip Medication into Brain by Remote Control

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 15:23

(STAT News) – Scientists have created a hair-thin implant that can drip medications deep into the brain by remote control and with pinpoint precision. If the device, tested only in animals so far, pans out, it could mark a new approach to treating brain diseases — potentially reducing side effects by targeting only the hard-to-reach circuits that need care.

Nonviral Gene Therapy Platform Delivers CRISPR/Cas9 to Tumors

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 15:16

(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – A platform for gene delivery and tumor therapy has been introduced that harnesses the power of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system. At the same time, the platform avoids some of the drawbacks of the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Specifically, the platform can cope with CRISPR/Cas9’s sheer bulk, achieving highly efficient and targeted delivery to tumor cells. At the same time, it provides a multifunctional bonus: the new system incorporates gold nanoparticles that can serve as thermotherapeutic agents.

Scientists Slammed for Synthesizing a Smallpox-Like Virus in the Lab

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 15:10

(Gizmodo) – The dreaded smallpox virus was eradicated more than 40 years ago, but the threat of its return still looms. In an effort to develop a safer vaccine substitute, Canadian researchers have resurrected a close relative—the extinct horsepox virus—from scratch. Critics say the exercise was pointless, and because the results were published in an open access journal, they fear the smallpox virus can now be manufactured by virtually anybody—terrorists included.

Study Highlights New Long-Acting Approach for Prevention of Malaria

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 15:02

(News-Medical) – A new study, published in Nature Communications, conducted by the University of Liverpool and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlights a new ‘long acting’ medicine for the prevention of malaria. Every year, malaria afflicts hundreds of millions of people and kills hundreds of thousands of children. Despite considerable success in reducing the worldwide prevalence of malaria, its incidence in visitors to endemic areas has continued to rise steadily.

Too Good To Be True

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 14:41

(Inside Higher Ed) – A professor who knows he might be dying flouts research protocols and teams up with a Hollywood producer to test a highly experimental herpes vaccine on human subjects. The patients — some of whom traveled to a house in the Caribbean for injections — start reporting adverse side effects. The professor largely dismisses the patients’ concerns and later dies, leaving his apparently unwitting institution to answer for him. It sounds like the stuff of fiction, but it’s Southern Illinois University’s reality.

Research Paper at Japan Stem Cell Institute Falsified Nearly All Images in 2017 Paper

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 14:30

(Retraction Watch) – An investigation by Kyoto University in Japan has found a researcher guilty of falsifying all but one of the figures in a 2017 stem cell paper. Yesterday, Kyoto University announced that the paper’s first author, Kohei Yamamizu, had fabricated and falsified data in the Stem Cell Reports paper. According to the investigation report, none of the other authors were involved in the data manipulation.

Employment Opportunity – Research Associate at The University of Notre Dame Australia

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/23/2018 - 18:24

SYDNEY campus

(Level B / Full-Time or Part-Time by Negotiation / Fixed-Term 12 Months)


The University of Notre Dame Australia is a private Catholic university with campuses in Fremantle, Broome and Sydney. The Objects of the University are the provision of university education within a context of Catholic faith and values and the provision of an excellent standard of teaching, scholarship and research, training for the professions and the pastoral care of its students.

Salary: $ 98,229 per annum (pro-rata if part-time)
(Plus 12% Superannuation and 17.5% Leave Loading)

The University of Notre Dame Australia in collaboration with St. Vincent’s Health Australia is seeking to appoint a Research Associate to undertake translational research in spiritual care in healthcare contexts. The appointee will be responsible for supporting empirical, theological and philosophical aspects of current interdisciplinary spiritual care research and planning future research.

The position is located at the Broadway site of the Sydney Campus and reports to the Director of the Institute for Ethics and Society (IES) in collaboration with the Director of Mission at St. Vincent’s Health Australia.

The successful candidate must have experience in empirical research, preferably in a healthcare setting, and familiarity with qualitative research methods would be advantageous.

To be considered for this role, applications should address the selection criteria as listed in the position job pack.

Applications close 4pm Monday, 12 February 2018

The application pack for this position is available at:



Postdoctoral Research Opportunity – Postdoctoral Research Scholars Program in Bioethics at The Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/23/2018 - 16:35

The Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School invites applications for the Postdoctoral Research Scholars Program in Bioethics, for appointments commencing in summer/fall 2018.

This two-year program aims to prepare scholars with the knowledge and skills necessary to become leaders in the field of bioethics. Research scholars will be fully integrated into the community of scholars at the Center for Bioethics, with access to the resources Harvard Medical School and the University at large.

Scholars will receive an annual stipend, benefits, and an allotment for academic expenses and travel.

The core experience will include:

  • Mentored research. Postdoctoral research scholars will work closely with faculty mentors from across the University to develop and conduct original research in the field of bioethics. A primary aim of the postdoctoral research program is to prepare candidates with the knowledge and skills necessary to obtain competitive research funding, and to develop a successful academic career in bioethics.
  • Educational opportunities. Because postdoctoral research scholars arrive with diverse backgrounds of experience and knowledge, each candidate will work with the faculty to develop a customized educational program to ensure that they develop expertise across the field of bioethics as a whole, as well as in-depth knowledge related to their special areas of interest. Postdoctoral research scholars will have access the Center’s courses and seminars, as well as the potential to audit relevant Harvard University courses.
  • Community life. Postdoctoral scholars will be fully engaged with the activities of the Center and the Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals. They will take responsibility for organizing and conducting conferences and seminars, and will be asked to assist in teaching courses in their areas of interest. They will have opportunities to participate on hospital clinical ethics committees and institutional review boards. In short, the postdoctoral experience provides the greatest possible access to all that Harvard University has to offer.

Application Information: Applications are invited from scholars who have or will have completed a doctoral degree (MDs, JDs, PhDs or equivalent) by June 1, 2018. Doctorates may be in any relevant field, including but not limited to public health, psychology, economics, philosophy, sociology, or anthropology.

The deadline for summer or fall 2018 is March 30, 2018. Applications are considered throughout the year under special circumstances.

For additional information about the program contact the Center for Bioethics at bioethics_postdoc@hms.harvard.edu or 617-432-2570.


Fellowship Opportunity – Fellowship Applications Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL)

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/23/2018 - 16:31

The Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Medicine and Harvard Medical School invites its 2018 round of applications for postdoctoral fellows in pharmaceutical law and health services research. Current fellows have studied FDA regulation, patents, drug access and costs, and competition in the therapeutic marketplace. Other areas of focus include intellectual property, ethics, and comparative effectiveness, as well as the development, approval, and evidence-based use of drugs, devices, vaccines, procedures, and diagnostics.

Applications are invited from researchers with doctoral degrees (J.D., M.D., Ph.D., Pharm.D., or equivalent) or who will complete such training by July 2018. Fellows will have an appointment at Harvard Medical School, receive close mentorship from faculty members in the Division, and engage in one or more projects intended to start their careers in law and public health research. Fellowship length will vary depending on the candidate (Minimum: 1 year).

The deadline is February 16, 2018. To apply, please send to asarpatwari@bwh.harvard.edu: (1) a CV, (2) a writing sample, and (3) a cover letter describing your past work, ideas for the kind of research you’d like to do in the fellowship, and career goals. The Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics is a close-knit 70-member interdisciplinary research center. Our work focuses on the evaluation, regulation, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of prescription drugs and medical devices, as well as the development and evaluation of policies to improve use of therapeutics.

E-mail Ameet Sarpatwari, J.D., Ph.D. at asarpatwari@bwh.harvard.edu with any questions.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School are Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employers; women and members of underrepresented minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.