Bioethics @ TIU

Equipoise and Caution Regarding “Ethical” Stem-Cell Therapy

Posted March 16th, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

You may have seen one of the many news reports this week about an “adult” stem cell treatment gone bad.  In it, doctors, not working in regulated industry or in the bounds of a clinical trial, injected stem cells derived from a person’s fatty tissue into the eyeballs of three people in an attempt to treat a vision-destroying condition called macular degeneration—and all three lost… // Read More »

Heritable human gene editing and the public

Posted March 2nd, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

The recent report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine includes a chapter dedicated to public engagement.  Scientists leading gene editing efforts have actively sought broader public engagement, and point out that they desire this input, including from people who disagree with them about it.  They may push to win any arguments, but for the most part they don’t seem to be hiding…. // Read More »

Still further on heritable human gene editing

Posted February 23rd, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

I want to spend a little time—several consecutive posts—on the subject of heritable gene editing in humans, and on the recent report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine on it.  The topic bears more attention than a single blog post, written in a bit of a rush, based on only the initial release of the report, pending a deeper dive.  That is… // Read More »

Can We Be Okay With Chimeras?

Posted February 3rd, 2017 by Jerry Risser

In a post yesterday, Jon Holmlund, in typically erudite fashion, addressed the ethical issues that arise from the findings of a published study which looked at the potential use of genome technologies to (someday) produce human organs in animals. I will begin by saying that I have no particular disagreement with Jon’s assessment. There is a lot that is troubling in this research, as much good… // Read More »

Last week’s “Loser of the Week”: the Human Race

Posted February 2nd, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

Every Friday, on the Fox News “Special Report,” anchor Bret Baier asks his panelists to choose a winner and loser for the week.  Last week, Charles Krauthammer’s “loser” choice was “the human race.”  Why?  Because of the first peer-reviewed publication (in the journal Cell, freely available online via the link) of work to produce pig-human hybrid embryos—pig embryos with human stem cells implanted, making a… // Read More »

Fetal tissue research furor continues

Posted January 12th, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

At the end of 2016, the Select Investigative Panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee published its report—all 485 pages—of its investigation into procurement of tissue from aborted fetuses for research.  The investigation had been prompted by the 2015 undercover videos from David Daleiden and his “Center for Medical Progress,” which was adduced to support charges that Planned Parenthood clinics, in particular, had violated… // Read More »

The 14-day rule: Time to double down?

Posted December 11th, 2016 by Mark McQuain

The “world’s leading scientists” gathered at University College London on 7 December 2016 to explore extending the 14-day limit on embryo experimentation from 14 days to 28 days. Presently the consensus of that meeting is not known. The Guardian has published a nice summary of the background and future implications of the issue (link HERE). Jon Holmlund offered his comments in this blog back in… // Read More »

How can we make the “brave new world” a campaign issue?

Posted August 18th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

Wesley Smith, who, based on his writing, I consider a kindred soul in bioethics, has published an essay in First Things dated August 5, 2016, and entitled, “Brave New World Should be an Election Issue.”  In it, he quickly runs down the revolutionary changes in the very nature of humanity that appear in the offing based on biotechnological developments since the publication of Aldous Huxley’s… // Read More »

The surprisingly small benefit of some very (expensive) Big Ideas

Posted August 5th, 2016 by Joe Gibes

Last week, JAMA published online a Viewpoint provocatively titled, “What Happens When Underperforming Big Ideas in Research Become Entrenched?” The overarching Big Idea to which the article refers is the “narrative positing that a combination of ever-deeper knowledge of subcellular biology, especially genetics, coupled with information technology will lead to transformative improvements in health care and human health.” The article highlights three technologies that are… // Read More »

Toward human-animal hybrids

Posted August 4th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

To be published tomorrow in the Federal Register, the massive, Byzantine thousands-upon-thousands of pages repository for all of the rules and regulations that constitute so much of de facto law in the contemporary United States: a Request for Public Comment on the Proposed Changes to the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research and the Proposed Scope of an NIH Steering Committee’s Consideration of Certain… // Read More »