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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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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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Prominent UCSD eye doctor ‘on leave’ after inewsource investigation – inewsource (Jill Castellano & Brad Racino | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 14, 2019
 

Dr. Kang Zhang, chief of eye genetics at the University of California San Diego, is “on leave” after an inewsource investigation exposed how the doctor put medical research subjects in harm’s way for years while pulling in millions of federal dollars for the institution.

This case demonstrates why an institution’s monitoring arrangements need to escalate consistent nonadherence and include random audits

In a new development, inewsource obtained an inspection report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that detailed more problems with one of Zhang’s studies. The report, compiled in 2016, described one incident in which Zhang poked a hole in a study participant’s eye with a needle, causing a cataract that had to be fixed with surgery.
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The person wasn’t supposed to be enrolled in the study, according to the report, and the injury allegedly occurred because Zhang was in a hurry to take a trip to China.
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U.S. Public Health Service STD Experiments in Guatemala (1946–1948) and Their Aftermath – Ethics and Human Research (Kayte Spector‐Bagdady Paul A. Lombardo | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 22, 2019
 

ABSTRACT
The U.S. Public Health Service’s sexually transmitted disease (STD) experiments in Guatemala are an important case study not only in human subjects research transgressions but also in the response to serious lapses in research ethics. This case study describes how individuals in the STD experiments were tested, exposed to STDs, and exploited as the source of biological specimens—all without informed consent and often with active deceit. It also explores and evaluates governmental and professional responses that followed the public revelation of these experiments, including by academic institutions, professional organizations, and the U.S. federal government, pushing us to reconsider both how we prevent such lapses in the future and how we respond when they are first revealed.

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Hopefully most people with an interest in the history of human research ethics will be well aware of the egregious ethical breaches and misdeeds in Guatemala. (If not we’ve included links about the case).  This item appears to raise nothing new. However,  it questions whether merely reporting a breach is sufficient.  Mark Israel considers that question further in his commentary piece in the subscribers’ area.

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