Scientists Battle In Court Over Lucrative Patents For Gene-Editing Tool

NPR, 5 December 2016
Author: Richard Harris
“A gene-editing technology called CRISPR-cas9 could be worth billions of dollars. But it’s not clear who owns the idea. U.S. patent judges will hear oral arguments to help untangle this issue, which has far more at stake than your garden-variety patent dispute. “This is arguably the biggest biotechnology breakthrough in the past 30 or 40 years, and controlling who owns the foundational intellectual property behind that is consequentially pretty important,” says Jacob Sherkow, a professor at the New York Law College.”
Find article here.

Introduction to the article collection ‘Translation in healthcare: ethical, legal, and social implications’

BMC Medical Ethics 2016 17:74
Authors: Michael Morrison, Donna Dickenson, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee
“New technologies are transforming and reconfiguring the boundaries between patients, research participants and consumers, between research and clinical practice, and between public and private domains. From personalised medicine to big data and social media, these platforms facilitate new kinds of interactions, challenge longstanding understandings of privacy and consent, and raise fundamental questions about how the translational patient pathway should be organised.”
Find article here.

I would have given anything to have a baby. But what does IVF really cost?

The Guardian, 30 November 2016
Author: Jessica Hepburn
“Reproductive science is big business but seems to be avoiding the ethical microscope. A study by Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine into 27 such treatments has found that 26 have no good scientific proof of success. Some may even cause you harm. Professor Carl Heneghan, who oversaw the study, said it was one of the worst examples of healthcare practice he had ever seen in this country.”
Find article here.

On normative judgments and ethics

BMC Medical Ethics 2016 17:75
Author: Ognjen Arandjelovi
“Recent rapid technological and medical advance has more than ever before brought to the fore a spectrum of problems broadly categorized under the umbrella of ‘ethics of human enhancement’. Some of the most contentious issues are typified well by the arguments put forward in a recent article on human cognitive enhancement authored by Garasic and Lavazza. Herein I analyse some of the assumptions made in their work and highlight important flaws. In particular I address the problems associated with the distinction between ‘treatment’ and ‘enhancement’, and ‘natural’ vs. ‘non-natural’ therapies.”
Find article here.

Introduction to the article collection ‘Translation in healthcare: ethical, legal, and social implications’

BMC Medical Ethics 2016 17:74
Authors: Michael Morrison, Donna Dickenson, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee
“New technologies are transforming and reconfiguring the boundaries between patients, research participants and consumers, between research and clinical practice, and between public and private domains. From personalised medicine to big data and social media, these platforms facilitate new kinds of interactions, challenge longstanding understandings of privacy and consent, and raise fundamental questions about how the translational patient pathway should be organised.”
Find article here.

Medical Devices Pose Weak Link In Preventing Cyber Attacks

Information Management, 15 November 2016
Author: Fred Bazzoli
“For many users of Johnson & Johnson’s OneTouch Ping insulin pump, the benefit of ease of use has been outweighed by the fear of hacking. In early October, the company sent letters to patients using the devices, alerting them to the fact that the OneTouch contained a cybersecurity flaw that could allow a hacker to reprogram the device to administer additional doses of the diabetes drug, which could be life-threatening.”
Find article here.

“It’s all about trust”: reflections of researchers on the complexity and controversy surrounding biobanking in South Africa

BMC Medical Ethics 2016 17:57
Authors: Keymanthri Moodley, Shenuka Singh
“Biobanks are precariously situated at the intersection of science, genetics, genomics, society, ethics, the law and politics. This multi-disciplinarity has given rise to a new discourse in health research involving diverse stakeholders. Each stakeholder is embedded in a unique context and articulates his/her biobanking activities differently. To researchers, biobanks carry enormous transformative potential in terms of advancing scientific discovery and knowledge. However, in the context of power asymmetries in Africa and a distrust in science born out of historical exploitation, researchers must balance the scientific imperative of collecting, storing and sharing high quality biological samples with obligations to donors/participants, communities, international collaborators, regulatory and ethics authorities. To date, researcher perspectives on biobanking in South Africa have not been explored and documented.”
Find article here.

Skin patches instead of needles: can nanotechnology vaccinate the world?

The Conversation, 9 November 2016
Author: Tristan Clemons
“Think of a device which is around postage stamp size and has thousands upon thousands of tiny spikes on its surface: this is a nanopatch. the nanopatch is well suited to the delivery of vaccines where targeting immune cells is vital for vaccination success. Examples include influenza, polio and cholera. The nanopatch is revolutionising how vaccines are delivered. This technology has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of vaccination programs and make vaccines more accessible worldwide.”
Find article here.