(The Verge) – Researchers have grown a type of complex, hairy skin tissue in the lab for the first time. The fluorescent skin was implanted in living mice, and although its use in humans is a long way off, scientists think the lab-grown tissue could one day help burn survivors and people with skin diseases. The skin, described today in the journal Science Advances, was made by Japanese researchers using reprogrammed cells taken from mature rodents — called “induced pluripotent stem cells.” Unlike previous lab-grown skin, it contains inner and outer layers, as well as hair follicles and oil-producing glands.
(The Guardian) – As a feminist campaigner against sexual abuse of women, and in particular the sex trade, I feel sick at the idea of wombs for rent. Sitting in the clinic, seeing smartly dressed women come in to access fertility services, all I could think about was how desperate a woman must be to carry a child for money. I know from other campaigners against womb trafficking that many surrogates are coerced by abusive husbands and pimps. Watching the smiling receptionist fill out forms on behalf of prospective commissioning parents, I could only wonder at the misery and pain experienced by the women who will end up being viewed as nothing but a vessel.
(National Post) – An overwhelming majority of Canadians believes psychological suffering on its own should never be grounds for granting a doctor-assisted death. While Canadians seem particularly appalled by the idea of allowing assisted suicide for “mature minors” with psychological suffering, a majority supports lethal prescriptions for terminally ill children and youth, a newly released poll suggests. The Angus Reid Institute survey of 1,517 Canadian adults, released in advance to the National Post, “goes beyond asking, should we, to, how should we, and where should the limits lie,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute.
(Bloomberg) – GlaxoSmithKline Plc won the backing of the European Union’s drug regulator for its first gene therapy, which treats a rare disease that makes newborn babies unable to fight off everyday infections. The therapy, which will be marketed as Strimvelis, was recommended for approval by the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, the London-based drugmaker said Friday in a statement. The European Commission usually follows the committee’s advice.
(The Guardian) – The result will be easy PGD. A couple who wants children will visit a clinic – he will leave a sperm sample; she will leave a skin sample. A week or two later, the prospective parents will receive information on 100 embryos created from their cells, telling them what the embryos’ genomes predict about their future. Prospective parents will then be asked what they want to be told about each embryo – serious early onset genetic diseases, other diseases, cosmetic traits, behaviours, and, easiest but important to many: gender. Then they will select which embryos to move into the womb for possible pregnancy and birth.
(Washington Post) – Scientific integrity took another hit Thursday when an Australian researcher received a two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to 17 fraud-related charges. The main counts against neuroscientist Bruce Murdoch were for an article heralding a breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. And the judge’s conclusions were damning.