ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)
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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(China/Gene) Chinese scientist who produced genetically altered babies sentenced to 3 years in jail – Science (Dennis Normile | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on January 5, 2020
 

He Jiankui, the Chinese researcher who stunned the world last year by announcing he had helped produce genetically edited babies, has been found guilty of conducting “illegal medical practices” and sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Given the degree of recklessness and premeditation, the lifetime health effects and that the genetic modifications are inheritable, some may feel an even harsher sentence would have been warranted.  Nevertheless, it is welcome to see the Chinese court impose large fines and prison sentences.

A court in Shenzhen found that He and two collaborators forged ethical review documents and misled doctors into unknowingly implanting gene-edited embryos into two women, according to Xinhua, China’s state-run press agency. One mother gave birth to twin girls in November 2018; it has not been made clear when the third baby was born. The court ruled that the three defendants had deliberately violated national regulations on biomedical research and medical ethics, and rashly applied gene-editing technology to human reproductive medicine.
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All three pleaded guilty, according to Xinhua. The court also fined He, formerly of the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) and known as JK to friends and colleagues, 3 million Chinese yuan ($429,000). His collaborators were identified as Zhang Renli, of a medical institution in Guangdong province, and Qin Jinzhou, from a Shenzhen medical institution; Zhang received a 2-year prison sentence and was fined 1 million yuan, according to Xinhua, whereas Qin was given 18 months in prison with a 2-year reprieve, and a 500,000 yuan fine.
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Sample and data sharing barriers in biobanking: consent, committees, and compromises (Paper: Flora Colledge MA, et al | December 2013)0

Posted by Admin in on January 2, 2020
 

Abstract

The discussion in this paper is not particularly new or surprising but it does highlight yet again that HRECs can often be out of touch with donors wishes.  We have included links to ten other papers on consent and biobanking.

The ability to exchange samples and data is crucial for the rapidly growth of biobanking. However, sharing is based on the assumption that the donor has given consent to a given use of her or his sample. Biobanking stakeholders, therefore, must choose 1 of 3 options: obtain general consent enabling multiple future uses before taking a sample from the donor, try to obtain consent again before sharing a previously obtained sample, or look for a legally endorsed way to share a sample without the donor’s consent. In this study, we present the results of 36 semistructured qualitative interviews with Swiss biobanking stakeholders regarding these options and the role of ethics committees in the process of authorizing sharing. Our results show that despite a lack of legal or guideline-based barriers to general consent, some stakeholders and ethics committees have reservations about this method of consent. In most cases, however, a general consent form is already in use. Many interviewees describe processes involving the ethics committees as time-consuming and cumbersome and their requirements as too demanding for donors/patients. Greater awareness of donors’ opinions and preferences and the content of guidelines and recommendations could therefore be helpful for a better justified perspective of biobanking stakeholders and ethical committee members, equally. Finally, it may be necessary to differentiate between procedures governing future samples, where general consent is clearly desirable, and the use of old yet still relevant samples, where the option of using them without consent can be highly beneficial for research.
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Keywords
Biobank, Informed consent, Ethics committee, Data sharing, Sample sharing

Colledge F, Persson K, Elger B, Shaw D. (2014) Sample and data sharing barriers in biobanking: consent, committees, and compromises. Annals of Diagnostic Pathology 18:78-81
Publisher: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1092913413001524?via%3Dihub

How about personally optimized treatment? – The Ethics Blog (Pär Segerdahl | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 31, 2019
 

It is well known that patients who are asked to participate in cancer trials are tempted by the therapeutic misconception. They believe they are offered a newer and better treatment, when in fact it is about research into an untested treatment. When researchers use genetic tests to develop personalized oncology, even more misconceptions can arise. I will soon explain. But first, what is personalized cancer treatment? Here is an example.

Patients whose tumor is to be operated may undergo preparatory radiation or chemotherapy. Since the preparatory therapy has severe side effects, one wants to avoid giving it to patients whose tumors do not respond to it. The challenge is to distinguish patients who respond to treatment from patients who do not. This is to be accomplished through, among other things, genetic tests on the tumor cells. If this works, you can develop personalized cancer treatment. Patients with the “right” tumor cell genetics receive the preparatory therapy, while patients who, according to the genetic tests, only get the side effects, with no effect on tumor growth, do not receive the therapy.

What are the misconceptions that can arise in patients who are asked to participate in research on personalized cancer treatment? Here are some examples.

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(China) Science publishers review ethics of research on Chinese minority groups – Nature (Richard Van Noorden & Davide Castelvecchi | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 27, 2019
 

Springer Nature and Wiley have concerns about lack of consent in genetics and facial-recognition papers.

Two science publishers are reviewing the ethics of research papers in which scientists backed by China’s government used DNA or facial-recognition technology to study minority groups in the country, such as the predominantly Muslim Uyghur population.

Springer Nature (which publishes Nature) and Wiley want to check that the study participants gave informed consent, after researchers and journalists raised concerns that the papers were connected to China’s heavy surveillance operations in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. China has attracted widespread international condemnation — and US sanctions — for mass detentions and other human-rights violations in the province. The Chinese government says that it is conducting a re-education campaign in the region to quell what it calls a terrorist movement.

“We are very concerned about research which involves consent from vulnerable populations,” says a spokesperson from Springer Nature (Nature’s news team is editorially independent of its publisher).

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