The United Kingdom Sets Limits on Experimental Treatments: The Case of Charlie Gard

JAMA. 2017;318(11):1001-1002
Author: Robert D. Truog
“The case of Charlie Gard in London, England, has been the focus of international attention, generating polarized views about the use of experimental treatments. On one side are those who hold that patients should be able to purchase whatever treatments they desire and can afford; on the other are those who maintain that governments must play a regulatory role in protecting patients from harm and that unproven therapies must meet a threshold of scientific validity before they are offered, regardless of the ability of the patient to pay.”
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Informed consent and registry-based research – the case of the Danish circumcision registry

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:53
Authors: Thomas Ploug, Søren Holm
“Research into personal health data holds great potential not only for improved treatment but also for economic growth. In these years many countries are developing policies aimed at facilitating such research often under the banner of ‘big data’. A central point of debate is whether the secondary use of health data requires informed consent if the data is anonymised.”
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Microneedle Patches for Flu Vaccination Successful in First Human Clinical Trial

Georgia Tech, 27 June 2017
Author: John Toon
“Despite the potentially severe consequences of illness and even death, only about 40 percent of adults in the United States receive flu shots each year; however, researchers believe a new self-administered, painless vaccine skin patch containing microscopic needles could significantly increase the number of people who get vaccinated. A phase I clinical trial found that influenza vaccination using Band-Aid-like patches with dissolvable microneedles was just as effective in generating immunity against influenza. The microneedle patch vaccine could also save money because it is easily self-administered, could be transported and stored without refrigeration, and is easily disposed of after use without sharps waste.”
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Secondhand smoke exposure before birth may affect lungs into adulthood

Medical News Today, 29 June 2017
Author: Catharine Paddock
“Secondhand smoke is that produced by the burning of tobacco products such as cigars, cigarettes, and pipes that can be inhaled by people nearby. Breathing in secondhand smoke is also known as passive smoking. Smoke that is exhaled by someone who is smoking is also classed as secondhand smoke. Hundreds of the 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke are toxic – that is, they cause some degree of harm to the body. These include 70 that can cause cancer. Adult susceptibility to lung diseases may depend on prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke.”
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China vows to clamp down on academic fraud amid medical journal scandal

BMJ 2017; 357: j2970
Author: Jane Parry
“China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has said that it is investigating the case of 107 papers from China retracted by the journal Tumor Biology in April this year and that it has “zero tolerance” for academic fraud. The papers were retracted after the journal’s publisher, Springer, conducted a manual screening that showed that the authors had submitted papers with fake email addresses for reviewers.”
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Not Just About Consent: The Ethical Dimensions of Research Methodology Knowledge in IRBs

JME Blog, 15 June 2017
Author: Sarah Wieten
“The recent article, “Some Social Scientists Are Tired of Asking for Permission” in the New York Times inspired a great deal of debate about the role of institutional research ethics board (IRB) oversight in social science, which some argue is in most cases unlikely to involve significant harm to participants.”
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No evidence that $40,000 ‘miracle’ drug cures hepatitis C

Daily Mail, 9 June 2017
Author: Cheyenne Roundtree
“A medicine hailed as a ‘miracle’ drug that could eliminate hepatitis C may not actually cure the disease, a study claims. Sick patients were offered hope with a new $40,000 direct-acting antiviral drug, which boasted it could clear the virus from the blood within 12 weeks.
The staggering price of the medicine was worth it to some because the contagious liver disease can lead to cancer and death. Now researchers claim that although the drug may rid the blood of the virus there is no valid evidence that it completely rids the body of the infection.”
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Merck & Co. Halts Enrollment in Two Keytruda Trials, Citing Deaths

GEN, 13 June 2017
Source: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
“Merck & Co. said it has stopped enrollment in two Phase III trials assessing its cancer immunotherapy Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) in combination with other therapies to treat multiple myeloma, following reports of patient deaths. Patients currently enrolled in the two studies will continue to receive treatment, Merck said, adding that its other clinical studies of Keytruda will continue unchanged.”
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Millions of dollars’ worth of research in limbo at NIH

The Washington Post, 4 June 2017
Author: Lenny Bernstein
“The leadership at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has banned the use of data collected over 25 years from more than 1,000 volunteers in the lab of neurologist Allen R. Braun, citing “serious and widespread” record-keeping errors, all of them clerical matters related to forms used for matters such as screening volunteers or logging physical exams.”
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Junior doctor is struck off over false research claims

BMJ 2017; 357: j2637
Author: Clare Dyer
“A junior doctor who was suspended for dishonesty in 2011 has been struck off after making false claims in an abstract for a conference presentation. Harman Mattu, who qualified at the University of London in 2006, told “blatant lies” in an abstract for presentation at an Imperial College clinical education conference, a medical practitioners tribunal heard.”
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