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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(Australia) UNSW skin cancer researcher Levon Khachigian hit with string of retractions – ABC News (Elise Worthington and Kyle Taylor | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 20, 2019
 

Levon Khachigian cuts an imposing figure in the hallways of the UNSW School of Medical Sciences.

This disheartening case isn’t the first time it has been suggested an independent national body should investigate allegations of research misconduct, that Australia’s approach has an inherent conflict of interest problem and something needs to change.

The 55-year-old cell biologist rose to the top of the university’s academic hierarchy, on a salary package once worth more than $250,000 a year.
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In the elite world of academia, where prestige is driven by publication in top scientific journals and research funding is scarce, Professor Khachigian has been a big earner, bringing more than $23 million in funding to the university over his three-decade career.

The cancer and cardiovascular researcher was once regarded as a rising star on the brink of a breakthrough treatment for skin cancer.
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Professor Khachigian is the winner of multiple Eureka prizes, widely regarded as the “Oscars” of Australian science, and once told a newspaper that the toughest part of the job was “when a research paper is rejected for publication on whimsical grounds”.

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Work of renowned UK psychologist Hans Eysenck ruled ‘unsafe’ – The Guardian (Sarah Boseley | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 14, 2019
 

Eysenck’s ‘cancer-prone’ personality theory had come under criticism for decades

The work of one of the most famous and influential British psychologists of all time, Hans Eysenck, is under a cloud following an investigation by King’s College London, which has found 26 of his published papers “unsafe”.

King’s says the results and conclusions of the papers “were not considered scientifically rigorous” by its committee of inquiry. Prof Sir Robert Lechler, the provost at King’s, has contacted the editors of the 11 journals where the papers appeared, recommending they should be retracted.

Eysenck, who died in 1997, published prolifically and wrote many well-known books, holding controversial views on a number of subjects, including race and IQ. The investigation centred on research that claimed personality played a bigger part in people’s chances of dying from cancer or heart disease than smoking.

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(US) NIH must better protect research from foreign influence, federal watchdog says – STAT (Lev Facher | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 13, 2019
 

WASHINGTON — Foreign governments and corporations could profit from American academic institutions’ failure to safeguard taxpayer-funded biomedical research, according to a set of new reports from a federal watchdog.

Even though this is a US centric item, its points about institution conflicts of interest and overseas funding are very relevant to Australasia.  It also makes some good comments about pharmacology research.

The reports, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, show that 54% of research institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health — some 1,013 universities and academic centers — failed to publish financial conflict-of-interest policies online. In 2018, according to the report, the NIH conducted just three audits to determine grantee institutions’ own efforts to safeguard their research — down from 28 in 2012.
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“The concern, generally speaking, is whether financial interests threaten or distort the use of NIH funds for their intended research purpose or the results of that scientific research,” Erin Bliss, an assistant HHS inspector general, said in an interview. “There are also concerns around the diversion of intellectual property, which could be an economic or a national security risk, and the potential for distortion or inappropriate influence of funding decisions.”
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How to Boost Racial, Ethnic and Gender Diversity in Clinical Research (Report – Syneos: September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 6, 2019
 

Why All Stakeholders Must OWN The Mission
Healthcare transformations take time—and the time lag has consequences.

While this item and the accompanying report are decidedly US-centric, the issues are fundamental and global.  AHRECS Consultant Nik Zeps will be part of a panel discussion at the clinical oncology meeting in Adelaide in November 2019 debating this for the Cancer Council Victoria.

It has been 25 years since Congress passed the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act requiring federally funded clinical research programs to prioritize inclusion of women and minorities. Since then, both the NIH and the Food and Drug Administration have mounted numerous initiatives, including regulatory guidance aimed at shoring up the law’s intent.
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Despite parallel efforts by biopharmaceutical innovators, the demographics of clinical trials today still do not reflect the racial, ethnic or gender diversity of target patient populations around the world. This is true for trial subjects, of whom an estimated 83 percent are white. And it’s true for the race/ethnicity/gender representation of investigators at many trial sites as well.

As advanced health systems around the world enter an era of genomic and precision medicine, lack of diversity across the clinical research landscape is a daunting obstacle.

Access this discussion piece and report

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