Tag: science

Uncategorized

China Launches Brain-Imaging Factory

August 16, 2017

Be the first to like.
Share

Neuroscientists who painstakingly map the twists and turns of neural circuitry through the brain are about to see their field expand to an industrial scale. A huge facility set to open in Suzhou, China, next month should transform high-resolution brain mapping, its developers say.

Where typical laboratories might use one or two brain-imaging systems, the new facility boasts 50 automated machines that can rapidly slice up a mouse brain, snap high-definition pictures of each slice and reconstruct those into a 3D picture. This factory-like scale will “dramatically accelerate progress”, says Hongkui Zeng, a molecular biologist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, Washington, which is partnering with the centre. “Large-scale, standardized data generation in an industrial manner will change the way neuroscience is done,” she says.

The institute, which will also image human brains, aims to be an international hub that will help researchers to map neural connectivity for everything from studies of Alzheimer’s disease to brain-inspired artificial-intelligence projects, says Qingming Luo, a researcher in biomedical imaging at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China. Luo leads the new facility, called the HUST-Suzhou Institute for Brainsmatics, which has a 5-year budget of 450 million yuan (US$67 million) and will employ some 120 scientists and technicians. Luo, who calls himself a “brainsmatician”, also built the institute’s high-speed brain-imaging systems.

… Read More

Be the first to like.
Share

Nature News

Tags: , , , , ,

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Uncategorized

When Torture Becomes Science

Was the Central Intelligence Agency’s post-9/11 “enhanced interrogation” program an instance of human experimentation?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Uncategorized

The Robot That Staves Off Loneliness for Chronically Ill Children

August 14, 2017

Be the first to like.
Share

As a rule of thumb, the best ideas are the simplest. That’s easy to forget in an age of rapid technological innovation, when the tendency is to be led by capability rather than need.

For as Karen Dolva, co-founder of the Norwegian startup No Isolation, says: “There are a lot of engineers who don’t want to make something useful – they want to make something cool.”

Dolva, a 26-year-old who studied computer science and interaction design at Oslo University, is not one of them. She and her two co-founders – Marius Aabel and Matias Doyle – are all about utility. As their company name suggests, they are looking to end human isolation. It’s a massive undertaking, but they’ve started with a distinct and overlooked group: sick children.

… Read More

Be the first to like.
Share

The Guardian

Tags: , , , ,

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Uncategorized

CRISPR, Pigs, Organs, Ethics: Some Key Considerations

Michael S. Dauber, M.A., GBI Visiting Scholar

Luhan Yang and members of her research team at eGenesis have taken a crucial step in growing organs in animals that may be used to provide organs for therapeutic transplants in humans, according to a study published in Science Magazine on Thursday, August 10th. Researchers involved in the study used CRISPR, a genetic editing technique, to “knock out” 25 genes that cause porcine endogenous retroviruses (sometimes referred to as “PERV genes”) that make ordinary pig organs unsuitable for transplants because PERVs can infect human transplant recipients. The result was the birth of 37 baby pigs without PERV genes.

The move comes at a time when CRISPR experiments are becoming increasingly popular. Last week, a team led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov published the results of the first successful attempt to modify human embryos using CRISPR by American scientists in Nature. The researchers successfully deleted a gene responsible for several fatal heart conditions.

While the results are a significant step in developing techniques for growing organs suitable for human transplantation, scientists must still travel a long road before any human patients will receive such organs. Researchers will need to determine whether or not organs from pigs developed using CRISPR can be safely and effectively transplanted into other animals first. Another hurdle is the cost and complexity of the technique: Yang’s experiments with her team involved embryos produced through cloning, an expensive technique that is not always completely effective: indeed, in Yang’s study, only a few of the cloned embryos were viable.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Uncategorized

Gene Editing Spurs Hope for Transplanting Pig Organs Into Humans

August 11, 2017

Be the first to like.
Share

The experiments, reported on Thursday in the journal Science, may make it possible one day to transplant livers, hearts and other organs from pigs into humans, a hope that experts had all but given up.

If pig organs were shown to be safe and effective, “they could be a real game changer,” said Dr. David Klassen, chief medical officer at the United Network for Organ Sharing, a private, nonprofit organization that manages the nation’s transplant system.

There were 33,600 organ transplants last year, and 116,800 patients on waiting lists, according to Dr. Klassen, who was not involved in the new study. “There’s a big gap between organ supply and organ demand,” he said.

… Read More

Image eGenesis

Be the first to like.
Share

NYTimes

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Uncategorized

Gene Editing Might Mean My Brother Would’ve Never Existed

August 10, 2017

Be the first to like.
Share

Responses to this feat followed well-trodden trails. Hype over “designer babies.” Hope over new tools to cure and curb disease. Some spin, some substance and a good dose of science-speak. But for me, this breakthrough is not just about science or medicine or the future of humankind. It’s about faith and family, love and loss. Most of all, it’s about the life and memory of my brother.

Jason was born with muscle-eye-brain disease. In his case, this included muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, severe nearsightedness, hydrocephalus and intellectual disability. He lived past his first year thanks to marvels of modern medicine. A shunt surgery to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid building up around his brain took six attempts, but the seventh succeeded. Aside from those surgeries’ complications and intermittent illnesses due to a less-than-robust immune system, Jason was healthy. Healthy and happy — very happy. His smile could light up a room. Yet, that didn’t stop people from thinking that his disability made him worse off. My family and those in our religious community prayed for Jason. Strangers regularly came up to test their fervor. Prayer “circles” frequently had his name on their lists. We wanted him to be healed. But I now wonder: What, precisely, were we praying for?

… Read More

Image via TIME The author (left), with his brother Jason Courtesy of Joel Reynolds 

Be the first to like.
Share

TIME

Tags: , , , , , ,

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Uncategorized

What Are The Ethical Consequences of Immortality Technology?

Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it’s now the subject of serious investment – both intellectual and financial – by philosophers, scientists and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be ‘cryopreserved’ in preference to simply dying, as they wait for science to catch up and give them a second shot at life

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Uncategorized

The FDA Is Cracking Down on the Doctor Marketing 3-Parent Babies

John Zhang, a New York fertility doctor, wanted to push the boundaries of science and fertility by giving women at risk of passing on serious genetic conditions a chance at healthy kids through an IVF technique that uses the DNA of three people

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Uncategorized

American CRISPR Experiments and the Future of Regulation

By Michael S. Dauber, MA, GBI Visiting Scholar

According to a report in The MIT Technology Review, researchers in a lab based in Portland, Oregon have successfully created genetically modified human embryos for the first time in U.S. history, using a technique called CRISPR. The project, directed by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a researcher at Oregon Health and Science University, was published in Nature, and consisted of modifying the genes of human embryos to prevent a severe, genetically inherited heart condition. The embryos were destroyed several days after the experiments.

CRISPR stands for “clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats.” It is a genetic editing technique that allows scientists to cut out pieces of DNA and replace them with other pieces. CRISPR originated as a naturally occurring cellular defense system in certain bacterial that allows a cell to defend itself from foreign genetic material injected into cells by viruses. RNA strands that match the problematic genes bind with the piece of DNA to be removed, and enzymes work to remove the defective material. When CRISPR is used to edit the human genome, scientists apply CRISPR RNA strands and the corresponding enzymes that match the genes they wish to edit in order to extract the problematic genes.

Mitalipov is not the first scientist to use CRISPR to edit the human genome. Scientists in China have been using the technique in research using human embryos dating back to 2015. One notable study consisted of attempts to make cells resistant to HIV. Another controversial study involved the injection of CRISPR-modified cells into a patient with advanced lung cancer.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Uncategorized

After French Drug Trial Tragedy, EU Issues New Rules to Protect Study Volunteers

August 4, 2017

Be the first to like.
Share

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has issued new, stricter rules for studies that test drugs in people for the first time. They aim to better protect participants in such first-in-human studies—often healthy volunteers who receive a financial reward.

The guideline, which was issued on 25 July, will take effect in February 2018. It comes in the wake of a tragedy in a French drug study last year that led to the death of one man and serious neurological damage in four others. But some say the revision isn’t going for enough.

The new guideline emphasizes that drug developers must perform comprehensive preclinical tests of a new compound, including how it binds to its target and whether it has so-called off-target effects; experts argue such studies fell short for the French study. EMA also provides more detailed guidance on dosing and how to monitor subjects’ safety. Trial sponsors need to have strategies to minimize risks at every step and have to deal with adverse events timely and adequately.

… Read More

Be the first to like.
Share

Science Magazine

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.