Friday, December 26, 2008

Week in Review

Whatever it is you may celebrate at this time of year, we at the Women’s Bioethics Project wish you a happy and healthy holiday! Here is our week in review:

~ Rat embryonic stem cells created; genetically engineered rats should follow soon, providing new models of human disease.

~ AAAS workshop report recommends how to address education for scientists about biosecurity and the dual use dilemma for federal government, research institutions, and scientific organizations (co-authored by Mark Frankel).

~ An analysis of biosecurity policy in the context of gene synthesis. How much is too much regulation?

~ Biodefense Research: A Win-Win Challenge. An editorial proposing the optimal level of oversight of life-sciences research—coauthored by a number of National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) members, including Susan Ehrlich.

~Pfizer must pay $38.7M for stealing data from research center. Hope it was worth it, guys.

~Top 10 hospital hazards linked to medical devices. This one’s a delight. They’ve even got a special name for articles left behind in you during surgery. Retained medical devices and “unretrieved fragments.”

~ Oregon Health & Science University study shows that a nurse-managed, computerized system extends the lives of elderly patients.

~ Stopping ovarian cancer by blocking proteins coded by notorious gene.

~ FDA verdict could determine future of personalized medicine.

~ Mice that inhaled cigarette smoke 5 hours daily avoided lung damage by ingesting a drug. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em? No ~ Still not a good idea.

~ Genes affect tissues differently—and this could affect how likely a person is to get a disease.

~ Bowel cancer link to stem cells.

~ Even with additional education, the public may not trust and accept that nanotech is safe. No small task ahead of nanotech to gain acceptance and support.

~ AstraZeneca considering move into “biosimilars.” Could be part of a trend—Merck and Lilly have revealed similar plans.

~ State cord blood bank nearing reality in Indiana.

~ Rep. Pete Stark (D - Calif) says no health reform vote is likely in ’09. Just too many other things to get to.

~ Budget cuts threaten disaster plans for pandemics, natural disasters, and bioterrorism. The sad irony is progress had been made in the quality of plans.

~ Speaking of pandemics, HHS says health, emergency staff should get drugs first in the event of a such public health challenge.

~ Next steps for progressive stem cell politics.

~ Obama’s stimulus plan to include healthcare IT.

~ Leaflets accompanying new prescriptions inconsistently provide consumers with key safety data and other information. Apparently, the quality of these things is all over the map, and not regulated.

~ Some toddler deaths from cold drugs due to nontherapeutic use. In other words, the drugs were deliberately given to sedate or kill (as opposed to accidental overdoses).

~ Wine may boost omega-3 levels, despite fish intake or lack thereof. Well, cheers to you this holiday season!

~ Strange sleep disorders. Yes, folks, nightmares can kill. And REM sleep disorders could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

~ Incest may not be best, but marriage bans should be rolled back, scientists say. (Any Biblical prohibitions notwithstanding.)

[Thank you to Lisa von Biela, JD candidate, 2009, UMN, Editor of the BioBlurb, from which this content is partially taken and edited. BioBlurb is a weekly electronic publication of the American Bar Association's Committee on Biotechnology, Section of Science & Technology Law. Archived issues of the BioBlurb, as well as further information about the Committee on Biotechnology, are available here.]

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