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DNA ‘Building Blocks’ Pave the Way for Improved Drug Delivery

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 15:11

(Eurekalert) – DNA has been used as a ‘molecular building block’ to construct synthetic bio-inspired pores which will improve the way drugs are delivered and help advance the field of synthetic biology, according to scientists from UCL and Nanion Technologies. The study, published today in Nature Nanotechnology and funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Leverhulme Trust and UCL Chemistry, shows how DNA can be used to build stable and predictable pores that have a defined shape and charge to control which molecules can pass through the pore and when.

Ovarian Cancer with BRCA1 Mutation May Be Treatable with Arthritis Drug

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 15:06

(Medical News Today) – Mutations in BRCA1 increase the risk of developing ovarian and breast cancers. BRCA1 is mutated in 15-20% of ovarian cancers. Previous studies have also suggested that breast and ovarian cancers that have BRCA1 mutations may also be more sensitive to drugs that damage DNA – the cancer cells may more easily succumb to the drugs. Auranofin is currently undergoing trials for repurposing to treat recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer, which accounts for around 90% of diagnosed ovarian cancers.

Are Workarounds Ethical in Health Care Systems

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 14:54

(Eurekalert) – “There is more than one ‘clean hands’ problem in health care work,” writes Nancy Berlinger, a Hastings Center research scholar and a specialist in health care ethics, at the opening of her new book, Are Workarounds Ethical? Managing Moral Problems in Health Care Systems, published by Oxford University Press. The book examines the everyday ethical uncertainties that doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals face in caring for patients amid organizational resource allocation pressures, and the unofficial, sometimes problematic ways that they respond, including trying to wash their hands, symbolically, of situations seen as “legally risky, morally dodgy, or emotionally unclean.”

Supreme Court [of Canada] Seeks Compromise to Allow Doctor-Assisted Death

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 14:46

(The Globe and Mail) – In an extraordinary hearing on Monday, judges on the Supreme Court of Canada said there may be ways to permit a doctor-assisted death for grievously suffering individuals beginning next month, while also allowing the federal government the extra time it is requesting before the Criminal Code ban on assisted dying is lifted.

A New Edition of The Journal of Medicine & Philosophy is Now Available

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 10:03

The Journal of Medicine & Philosophy (vol. 41, no. 1, 2016) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Physicians’ Professionally Responsible Power: A Core Concept of Clinical Ethics” by Laurence B. McCullough
  • “Autonomy, Trust, and Respect” by Thomas Nys
  • “Acknowledged Dependence and the Virtues of Perinatal Hospice” by Aaron D. Cobb
  • “Conjoined Twins: Philosophical Problems and Ethical Challenges” by Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson
  • “Addiction, Autonomy, and Informed Consent: On and Off the Garden Path” by Neil Levy
  • “First Do No Harm: Euthanasia of Patients with Dementia in Belgium” by Raphael Cohen-Almagor
  • “Medically Inappropriate or Futile Treatment: Deliberation and Justification” by Cheryl J. Misak, Douglas B. White, and Robert D. Truog

A New Edition of The New England Journal of Medicine is Now Available

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 09:59

The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 374, no. 1, 2016) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “International Health Care Systems: Innovation and Change in the Chilean Health System” by T.J. Bossert and T. Leisewitz
  • “The House and the ACA—A Lawsuit over Cost-Sharing Reductions” by T.S. Jost
  • “Accountable Health Communities—Addressing Social Needs through Medicare and Medicaid” by D.E. Alley, et al.

A New Edition of Nature Biotechnology is Now Available

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 09:30

Nature Biotechnology (vol. 34, no. 1, 2016) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Xenotransplantation Makes a Comeback” by Jeffrey M. Perkel
  • “This Time May Be Different” by Bruce L. Booth
  • “The Global Pipeline of GM Crops out to 2020” by Claudia Parisi, Pascal Tillie, and Emilio Rodriguez-Cerezo
  • “The Patentability of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Technology in China” by Yaojin Peng

First Child ‘DNA Diagnosis’ in NHS Project

Bioethics News - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 15:18

(BBC) – The first children with debilitating “mystery” diseases have finally been given a diagnosis as part of a huge scheme to analyse people’s DNA. Four-year-old Georgia Walburn-Green’s damaged eyes and kidneys and her inability to talk had baffled doctors. She is one of the first to have her precise genetic abnormality identified through the 100,000 Genomes Project.

Scientists Bust Myth That Our Bodies Have More Bacteria Than Human Cells

Bioethics News - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 15:05

(Nature) – A ‘reference man’ (one who is 70 kilograms, 20–30 years old and 1.7 metres tall) contains on average about 30 trillion human cells and 39 trillion bacteria, say Ron Milo and Ron Sender at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and Shai Fuchs at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Those numbers are approximate — another person might have half as many or twice as many bacteria, for example — but far from the 10:1 ratio commonly assumed.

Genetic Testing Is a Responsibility if You’re Having Children

Bioethics News - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 14:53

(The Guardian) – For people who want to be proactive about their health there is a lot of information that we can provide. If you are going to have children I think you have a responsibility to know if you are carrying anything. A lot of people tend to do the testing once they are pregnant. I personally would rather go into the decision of having a child knowing this information because then I feel like I could be a better informed potential parent.

Slow Stem Cell Division May Cause Small Brains

Bioethics News - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 14:39

(Duke Today) – Duke University researchers have figured out how a developmental disease called microcephaly produces a much smaller brain than normal: Some cells are simply too slow as they proceed through the neuron production process. Published online Jan. 7 in the journal Neuron, the findings provide not only a new mechanistic explanation for microcephaly, but they could also aid understanding of autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders that are thought to arise from disruptions in the proper balance of neurons in the brain.

Texas Woman Gives Birth to Own Granddaughter in Surrogacy

Bioethics News - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 14:33

(CBS News) – A 53-year-old North Texas grandmother has given birth to her own grandchild. Tracey Thompson was a surrogate for her daughter and delivered a healthy baby girl Wednesday at The Medical Center of Plano, CBS DFW reports. Thompson offered to carry the child for her daughter, Kelley McKissack, 28, who had struggled with infertility for years. McKissack and her husband Aaron had undergone multiple infertility treatments and experienced three miscarriages.

Genetic Traffic Signal Orchestrates Early Embryonic Development

Bioethics News - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 14:19

(Eurekalert) – You are the product of metamorphosis. During the third week of your embryonic existence, fateful genetic choices were made that began to transform a tiny ball of identical stem cells into a complex organism of flesh and blood, bone and sinew, brain and heart and gut and lung. But what directed this remarkable developmental choreography?

The NIH, in Pursuit of Precision Medicine, Tries to Avoid Ghosts of Its Past

Bioethics News - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 14:09

(Stat News) – The National Institutes of Health is preparing to recruit 1 million volunteers for one of its most significant research projects in years, one meant to develop personalized medical treatments. As it does so, officials are trying to dodge the ghosts of a similarly ambitious research initiative, one that ended with a whimper: the National Children’s Study.

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