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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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Trump’s science adviser on research ethics, immigration and presidential tweets – Science (Sara Reardon | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 18, 2019
 

Five months into the job, Kelvin Droegemeier tells Nature what it’s like to work with the US president.

When meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier was sworn in as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in February, he inherited an office that had been without a leader for two years — and became the top science adviser to President Donald Trump.

Trump’s push to cut government spending on research, and his policies on issues such as immigration, have caused controversy in science. Nature spoke to Droegemeier in mid-April — two months into his tenure — about these policies, his plans and what it’s like to work with the president. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The number of OSTP staff dropped precipitously during Trump’s first two years in office. What is the situation now?

The lights were definitely on, and there was a lot of work actually getting done. We have people cycle through. Some of them are on detail for a year, so there’s kind of a constant refresh. I have brought additional people on board in some of the areas that I’m going to be working on a little bit more.

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Remains of dissected Nazi prisoners to be laid to rest in Berlin – The Guardian (Philip Oltermann | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 16, 2019
 

Microscopic tissue samples, kept by controversial anatomist, were found in 2016

The microscopic remains of political prisoners executed by the Nazis and dissected by a controversial anatomist are to be buried in Berlin on Monday, more than seven decades after the end of the second world war.

About 300 tissue samples, each one no more than a hundredth of a millimetre thin and one square centimetre in size, were discovered in 2016 by descendants of Hermann Stieve, a former director of the Berlin Institute of Anatomy who specialised in research into the female reproductive system.

Though Stieve was not a member of the Nazi party, he developed a relationship with the regime whereby he was allowed to do research on recently executed political prisoners in return for helping to obliterate any traces of their remains.

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“We got scammed:” Authors “sincerely apologize” for plagiarism they blame a ghostwriter for – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 13, 2019
 

The journal Cureus is retracting three articles by a mashup of authors from Pakistan and the United States for plagiarism, which the researchers blame on their use of a hired gun to prepare the papers.

A noteworthy element to this story is it appears the researchers have tried to explain away one breach (plagiarism) by admitting to another breach (using a ghostwriter), as well as another misdemeanour (not checking work prior to submission).  We have included links to quite a few items on ghostwriting, plagiarism and taking responsibility for a research output.

The articles were published over a roughly one-month stretch in August and September 2018 and covered an impressively polymathic range of topics, from lupus to heart disease. Although the list of authors varied, a few names remained constant. One, Asad Ali, of Lahore Medical College and Institute of Dentistry, was the first author on all three papers. Another was Malik Qistas Ahmad, whose affiliation is given as the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson although he no longer works there.
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The papers (not in chronological order) are: “Systemic lupus erythematosus: an overview of the disease pathology and its management”;  “Neurogenic stunned myocardium: a literature review”; and “An overview of the pathology and emerging treatment approaches for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome.”
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