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Artificial Virus Improves Delivery of New Generations of Pharmaceuticals

Bioethics News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:26

(Health Canal) – Researchers from Wageningen UR, together with colleagues from the University of Leiden, Eindhoven University of Technology and Radboud University Nijmegen, have successfully developed an artificial virus.  This virus can potentially be used for the delivery of new generations of pharmaceuticals, consisting of large biomolecules, by ‘packaging’ them in a natural fashion and delivering them to diseased cells. The artificial virus was designed according to new theoretical insights into how viruses operate and offers prospects for the delivery of pharmaceuticals, write the researchers in the latest online edition of Nature Nanotechnology.

Stem Cell Study in Japan Planned for Newborns with Encephalopathy

Bioethics News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:25

(The Japan Times) – A Japanese team plans to launch a clinical study in which stem cells contained in umbilical cord blood will be administered to newborns with encephalopathy to prevent severe complications like brain paralysis from occurring. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry recently approved the study, to be led by Osaka City University Prof. Haruo Shintaku, it was learned Wednesday. The study, which may start as early as November, will cover newborns with encephalopathy caused by a lack of oxygen during labor.

‘No Change in Attitude Towards Women’

Bioethics News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:23

(New Indian Express) – And now, she has released her latest book Baby Makers: The Story of Indian Surrogacy, tracing the role surrogacy plays, evolving from being a secretive and socially unacceptable procedure to becoming a multi-million dollar industry today. She states, “Couples from all over the world come to India to have their IVF procedure done and have the embryos planted in Indian surrogates. Surrogacy also has spin off industries like trade in other human genetic materials like eggs and sperm and even embryos.”

Japanese 24yo Who Fathered 15 Children Via Surrogacy Will Likely Take Them from Thailand

Bioethics News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:22

(ABC.net) – Japanese national Mitsutoki Shigeta used his sperm to have the children with 11 surrogate mothers. He said his motives were pure and all he wanted was a large family. Most of the children are now in the care of Thai authorities but with Mr Shigeta not breaking any law, the ABC has been told it is likely he will be able to take them from the country. Thailand’s assistant national police chief, Korkiat Wongvorachat, says Mr Shigeta has no criminal record and has not broken any laws, but will need a court order to get sole custody of the children.

When do we lose our human life?

Sanctity of Life News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 08:40
The academic conversation on brain death continues, with the American journal of Bioethics publishing a special issue on the status of death determined by neurological criteria (DDNC). Read more...

Tough sanctions for a blind eye

Sanctity of Life News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 08:28
Doctors who failed to raise concerns about colleagues could be struck off, under new guidance being considered by the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC). Read more...

In Thailand’s Surrogacy Industry, Profit and a Moral Quagmire

Bioethics News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 17:31

(CNBC) – Soon after the first surrogate mother from this remote village gave birth, neighbors noticed her new car and conspicuous home renovations, sending ripples of envy through the wooden houses beside rice paddies and tamarind groves. “There was a lot of excitement, and many people were jealous,” said Thongchan Inchan, 50, a shopkeeper here. In the two years since, carrying babies for foreigners, mainly couples from wealthier Asian nations, quickly became a lucrative cottage industry in the farming communities around Pak Ok, a six-hour drive from Bangkok.

‘Stiff Person Syndrome’ Treated by Stem Cell Transplant

Bioethics News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 17:29

(Fox News) – People with a rare disease called stiff person syndrome, or SPS, might benefit from a type of stem cell transplant that has been used to treat patients with leukemia and multiple sclerosis, researchers say. SPS is a neurological condition that causes people to suffer from periodic muscle stiffness and spasms that make everyday activities like walking or driving a car extremely difficult. Symptoms are often triggered by stress or environmental factors such as loud noises or cold temperatures.

The Man Who Grew Eyes

Bioethics News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 17:26

(The Guardian) – On the other side of the door, scientists in the Laboratory for Organogenesis and Neurogenesis are working on something that has fired the imagination of science fiction authors for many years. They are at the cutting edge of an emerging field: rebuilding the body by growing tissues and organs from stem cells. They hope to develop the next generation of therapies for a variety of debilitating human diseases, and unravel the mysteries of brain development.

Chinese Hospital Accused of Stealing Patient’s Organ after Woman Goes in for Minor Surgery and Wakes Up to Find Her Kidney Has Been Removed

Bioethics News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 17:23

(Daily Mail) – A Chinese hospital is being investigated for human organ trafficking after a patient claimed they stole one of her kidneys. Factory worker Wai Jianmin, 29, was admitted to Shenzhen Guangsheng Hospital, in China’s Guangdong province, for a routine operation to remove a blockage in her urinary tract on August 23. But when she came round from the procedure she was shocked to learn that her kidney had been removed. The surgeon told her that the kidney had begun to bleed and was removed to save her life.

The Thunder God Vine, Assisted by Nanotechnology, Could Shake Up Future Cancer Treatment

Bioethics News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 17:01

(Phys.org) – Now a team of scientists, led by Prof. Taeghwan Hyeon at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS)/Seoul National University and Prof. Kam Man Hui at the National Cancer Center Singapore, has screened a library containing hundreds of natural products against a panel of HCC cells to search a better drug candidate. The screen uncovered a compound named triptolide, a traditional Chinese medicine isolated from the thunder god vine (Tripterygium wilfordii (Latin) or lei gong teng (Chinese)) which was found to be far more potent than current therapies.

Introducing the Multi-Tasking Nanoparticle: Versatile Particles Offer a Wide Variety of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Applications

Bioethics News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 16:59

(Nanotechnology Now) – Kit Lam and colleagues from UC Davis and other institutions have created dynamic nanoparticles (NPs) that could provide an arsenal of applications to diagnose and treat cancer. Built on an easy-to-make polymer, these particles can be used as contrast agents to light up tumors for MRI and PET scans or deliver chemo and other therapies to destroy tumors. In addition, the particles are biocompatible and have shown no toxicity. The study was published online today in Nature Communications.

Assisted Suicide: It Happens, But in a Grey Legal Area

Bioethics News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 16:57

(The Globe and Mail) – Right now, federal law is clear: No doctor-assisted death, period. However, due to several structural features deliberately built into the Constitution and legal process, what appears to be a rigid ban is actually far more nuanced. And this built-in nuance is necessary to manage the inevitable conflict between static laws, evolving social values, and the fluid moral messiness of everyday life. What follows are five central features of our legal landscape that can informally turn a law whose words clearly say “never” into a law whose practical impact is “sometimes.”

A Hotline for End-of-Life Care

Bioethics News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 16:55

(The Atlantic) – The call lasts about 15 minutes. Schleicher asks if it’s ok to follow up, in a month or so. The hope of this program, she says, is to build a relationship over the phone, so he might be comfortable discussing his situation and his goals. Then he’ll be empowered to communicate those things with others, including his family and his doctors. He could also choose to allow the counselor to talk to his doctors or family directly. It’s paid for by insurers and federal privacy rules permit this for business purposes.

What People Cured of Blindness See

Bioethics News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 16:38

(The New Yorker) – In 2011, Dr. Pawan Sinha, a professor of vision and computational neuroscience at M.I.T., published his answer to an almost-four-hundred-year-old philosophical problem. The philosopher William Molyneux, whose wife was blind, had proposed a thought experiment in the seventeenth century about a person, blind from birth, who could tell apart a cube and a sphere by touch: If his vision were restored and he was presented with the same cube and sphere, would he be able to tell which was which by sight alone?

Ebola Virus Mutating Rapidly as It Spreads

Bioethics News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 16:34

(Nature) – On 24 May, Augustine Goba received a blood sample from a pregnant woman in Sierra Leone who had fallen ill after attending the funeral of an Ebola victim in Guinea. Twenty-four hours later, the test results came back positive. Goba, who directs a diagnostic lab at Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone, had confirmed the country’s first case of Ebola. He and his colleagues have now decoded the genetic sequences of 99 Ebola viruses collected from 78 patients during the first 24 days of the epidemic in Sierra Leone.