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Google health-data scandal spooks researchers – Science (Heidi Ledford | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on January 12, 2020
 

Scientists fear the controversy over the Nightingale project will undermine trust in research.

Google and one of the largest health-care networks in the United States are embroiled in a data-privacy controversy that researchers fear could jeopardize public trust in data-sharing practices and, potentially, academic studies.

At issue is a project dubbed Nightingale that gives Google access to the health-care information, including names and other identifiable data, of tens of millions of people without their knowledge. The people were treated at facilities run by the health network Ascension, which is based in St Louis, Missouri.

Google says that Nightingale, first reported in The Wall Street Journal on 11 November, is meant to develop technology that would enable Ascension to deliver improved health care.

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(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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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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(Europe) Psychology researcher committed misconduct, says university – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 24, 2019
 

A Dutch university has found a former psychology researcher at the institution guilty of misconduct for several offenses, including lack of ethics approval for some of her studies and fabricating results in grant applications.

In a Nov. 11, 2019, report, officials at the University of Leiden stated that the researcher, whom it does not identify, violated academic integrity in the following ways:

(1) research with blood samples taken from test subjects without the approval of the Medical Ethical Committee (METC), (2) negligence in listing co-authors, (3) data manipulation, and (4) submitting grant applications with incorrect (incomplete and manipulated) research data. 

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