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China tightens its regulation of some human gene editing, labeling it ‘high-risk’ – Science (Dennis Normile | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 19, 2019
 

In the wake of the shocking news that one of its scientists had produced genetically altered babies, the Chinese government this week issued draft regulations that would require national approval for clinical research involving gene editing and other “high-risk biomedical technologies.” Although some Chinese researchers welcome the move to tighten oversight, there are worries that the rules could impose a burden on areas of genetic research that are not so controversial.

“I am happy to see the national regulations regarding new biomedical technologies; I think this makes relevant policy more clear,” says Wei Jia, a medical oncologist who is involved with an ongoing trial using gene editing to modify cancer patient T-cells at the Affiliated Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School in China.

The regulations are in response to the late November 2018 claim by He Jiankui, then of Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, that he had altered the DNA embryos in a way that would give the babies and their descendants resistance to HIV. This approach is called germline engineering—it can involve changing DNA in embryos or sperm or eggs—and is banned in many countries, by law or regulation. He’s effort, using a technique called CRISPR, resulted in twin girls born last fall; one more baby, he said, is on the way. The experiment earned He worldwide condemnation for prematurely using a still glitchy technique that might negatively affect the babies’ development and health in a medically unnecessary and unjustified intervention.

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Chinese government funding may have been used for ‘CRISPR babies’ project, documents suggest – STAT (Jane Qiu | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 19, 2019
 

BEIJING — Three government institutions in China, including the nation’s science ministry, may have funded the “CRISPR babies” study that led to the birth last November of two genetically modified twin girls, according to documents reviewed by STAT.

These findings appear to support what many researchers inside and outside China have suspected since scientist He Jiankui revealed the births in late November, sparking international condemnation for violating scientific guidelines against the use of gene-edited human embryos to start pregnancies. “I don’t think He Jiankui could have done it without the government encouragement to press ahead” with research they thought would merit a Nobel Prize, said Jing-Bao Nie, a bioethicist at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

If the documents are correct, they would suggest China is supporting research that the U.S. and other countries consider unethical, and raise doubts about the preliminary conclusion of a government investigation that He acted mostly on his own. That inquiry, which was led by the Guangdong provincial health commission and involved the science ministry and the National Health Commission, determined that He raised funding for the experiment on his own without official endorsement. It also concluded that He forged an informed-consent form and violated scientific ethics and Chinese regulations, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

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(US/UK) Data suggest US, UK universities fall woefully short on reporting clinical trial results – Endpoints News (Natalie Grover | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 9, 2019
 

Clinical trial data are used by patients, doctors and policymakers to make informed choices about the benefits and safety of interventions — while the methods and results of all trials are crucial to the pace and direction of scientific progress. However, there is a large body of evidence that suggests that completed clinical trials are commonly left unreported, and educational institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom — arguably the two biggest regions that breed the bulk of medical innovation — have emerged as one of the key culprits guilty of these violations.

In the United States, Congress passed a law in 2007 requiring trial sponsors — including universities — to post the results of certain clinical trials on clinicaltrials.gov within a year of trial completion, and a decade later in January 2017 the rule was finalized. Since 2017, 40 leading US universities should have posted the results of 450 clinical trials — but over a third (31%) of those results are missing, according to an analysis by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) in partnership with non-profit research advocacy group TranspariMED.

The violators include some of the most active trial sponsors: For example the MD Anderson Cancer Center, which has only reported 77% of due trials, Mayo Clinic (42%), UC San Francisco (37%), New York University (21%), and Columbia University (17%).

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(US) University of Illinois at Chicago Missed Warning Signs of Research Going Awry, Letters Show – Propublica Illinois (Jodi S. Cohen | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 31, 2019
 

UIC has played down its shortcomings in overseeing the work of a prominent child psychiatrist, but newly obtained documents show that the school acknowledged its lapses to federal officials.

This story was co-published with The Chronicle of Higher Education and the Chicago Sun-Times.

For a year, the University of Illinois at Chicago has downplayed its shortcomings in overseeing the work of a prominent child psychiatrist who violated research protocols and put vulnerable children with bipolar disorder at risk.

But documents newly obtained by ProPublica Illinois show that UIC acknowledged to federal officials that it had missed several warning signs that Dr. Mani Pavuluri’s clinical trial on lithium had gone off track, eventually requiring the university to pay an unprecedented $3.1 million penalty to the federal government.

UIC’s Institutional Review Board, the committee responsible for protecting research subjects, improperly fast-tracked approval of Pavuluri’s clinical trial, didn’t catch serious omissions from the consent forms parents had to sign and allowed children to enroll in the study even though they weren’t eligible, the documents show.

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