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Germline Editing: Time for Discussion

Bioethics News - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 14:16

(Nature) – Germline modification of human embryos for use in reproduction is already prohibited by many countries. But the ease, speed and comparative specificity of CRISPR-Cas9 for genetic engineering, and its potential for germline alteration of heritable disease traits—as well as non-disease traits—have heightened the need for an immediate and global discussion of the ethical and regulatory implications of such research.

IVF Parents Are Now Getting Videos of the ‘Moment of Conception’

Bioethics News - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 14:15

(Daily Mail) – Most parents have the souvenir of a scan of their child in the womb at 12 weeks. The must-have for IVF mums and dads these days, however, is a video and pictures right from the moment of conception. The images are thanks to revolutionary technology that allows medics to record the microscopic miracle of life – from fertilisation to the division of cells, right through to the growth of an embryo.

Team Discovers Novel Mechanism Controlling Lung Cancer Stem Cell Growth

Bioethics News - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 14:13

(Medical Xpress) – Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer and the number one cause of cancer-related mortality. It is estimated that more than 158,000 people will die from lung cancer in the United States this year. Many scientists believe that targeting a type of cell called a cancer stem cell may be necessary to completely cure lung cancer. Moffitt Cancer Center researchers discovered a novel mechanism that plays an important role in the maintenance of lung cancer stem cells. This finding may lead to new potential therapeutic targets.

The Next Manhattan Project

Bioethics News - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 14:11

(The Atlantic) – Why should people do research on how to make the world’s most dangerous viruses and bugs more lethal? The answer varies tremendously depending on who is asking and for what purpose the research is taking place. While experts differ in their views on how and where such work should be done, there is wide agreement that the barriers to entry for new biological creations, including ones that could kill millions of people, are decreasing.

How Ashya King’s Dramatic Recovery Is Changing Cancer Treatment

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:18

(ABC News) – The United Kingdom is set to open its first three proton beam therapy centers to treat cancer after a 5-year-old boy appeared to make a complete recovery after seeking the treatment in the Czech Republic. The parents of Ashya King were briefly jailed after taking him from a British hospital last year. The child ultimately underwent six weeks of treatment at the Prague Proton Therapy Center in the Czech Republic, Iva Tapounova, the director of the center confirmed to ABC News. His son is now cancer free, the boy’s father, Brett King, said in a video posted to YouTube last month.

Kansas Governor Signs Nation’s First Ban on Abortion Procedure

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:16

(Medical Xpress) – Kansas became the first state Tuesday to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, a strong abortion opponent, signed a bill imposing the ban. The new law takes effect July 1.

Study Finds Limited Mutations Involved in the Transmission of Drug-Resistant HIV

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:10

(Medical Xpress) – In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and their colleagues have found that worldwide only a limited number of mutations are responsible for most cases of transmission of drug-resistant HIV. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can mutate in the presence of antiviral drugs, and these mutations can be transmitted from one person to the next.

Ancestry[dot]com Adds New Genetics Service

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:04

(The Scientist) – With only a bit of your saliva, Ancestry.com can send you a list of people you are related to, even cousins that lived and died 200 hundred years ago. Or so claims the consumer genetics company in a new ad campaign, touting the genealogical power of its new “AncestryDNA” test. The move is the latest in a big push from such firms to get the general public genotyped and excited about their genetic heritage.

A Human Harvest: China’s Organ Trafficking Exposed in Shocking Documentary

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:02

(Daily Mail) – When reports first emerged from China in 2006 that state-run hospitals were killing prisoners of conscience to sell their organs, it seemed too horrible to be true. However, a new documentary is about to blow the lid on the illegal organ trade that is now allegedly worth a staggering US$1 billion a year. This despite the fact 10,000 organs are transplanted in China every year, yet there are only a tiny number of people on the official donor register.

Pulling the Strings of Our genetic Puppetmasters: Engineers Gain Control of Gene Activity

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:00

(Physorg) – Duke researchers have developed a new method to precisely control when genes are turned on and active. The new technology allows researchers to turn on specific gene promoters and enhancers—pieces of the genome that control gene activity—by chemically manipulating proteins that package DNA. This web of biomolecules that supports and controls gene activity is known as the epigenome.

Why Is the Scientific World Abuzz about an Unpublished Paper? Because It Could Permanently Change Human DNA

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 14:58

(National Post) – Scientists around the world are anticipating the results of a Chinese study that would mark the first time DNA in a human embryo has been modified in a way that would carry into future generations. Although the embryos would be for study only, and not intended for implantation, the research would mark a significant milestone: the first time human DNA had been altered so substantially that it would change the “germ line” — the eggs or sperm of any child produced from the embryo.

The Weird Ways Science Is Trying to Improve Fertility

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 14:55

(Wired) – Many of the recent advances in IVF have been about selecting sperm, eggs, and embryos with the greatest chance of creating a successful pregnancy. But researchers and companies are working on a set of more experimental approaches that attempt to improve an embryo’s odds by hacking reproductive biology itself.

Tiny Hair Follicle Offers Big Clues about the Life And Death of Stem Cells

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 14:54

(Yale News) – Inside the microscopic world of the mouse hair follicle, Yale Cancer Center researchers have discovered big clues about how stem cells regenerate and die. These findings, published April 6 in the journal Nature, could lead to a better understanding of how the stem cell pool is maintained or altered in tissues throughout the body.

Con Job in Child’s Name

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 14:52

(Times of India) – When Don Bosco, a security personnel, and his wife, Sarala Devi, went to Shrusti Global Diagnostic Private Limited, west Bengaluru, in 2007, they were suggested IVF for having a child. When IVF failed, they suggested surrogacy. “I spent over Rs 5 lakh on the process. We had a baby in 2008, but she showed no development. In 2009 we realized that the baby was suffering from autism,” Don Bosco said.
Then, Sarala started having the side effects of the treatment. She passed away in 2014. To his shock, a DNA test later showed that his daughter’s DNA didn’t match with his.

MIPT Researchers Put Safety of Magic Anti-Cancer Bullet to Test

Bioethics News - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 14:48

(Nanotechnology Now) – A group of MIPT researchers together with their colleagues from Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Australia and the Netherlands have carried out the first systematic study analyzing the safety of so-called upconversion nanoparticles that may be used to treat skin cancer and other skin diseases. This study is one of the most important steps on the path to new, safe and effective methods to diagnose and treat cancer.

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