Image courtesy of Dr Kristen Brennand & Dr Fred H. Gage/ Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Image courtesy of Dr Yichen Shi and Dr Rick Livesey/ Cambridge Stem Cell Institute
Jun 23, 2016
Author: Sara Reardon
Article in Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2016.20137
CRISPR, the genome-editing technology that has taken biomedical science by storm, is finally nearing human trials.
On 21 June, an advisory committee at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) approved a proposal to use CRISPR–Cas9 to help augment cancer therapies that rely on enlisting a patient’s T cells, a type of immune cell.
This first trial is small and designed to test whether CRISPR is safe for use in people, rather than whether it effectively treats cancer or not. It will be funded by a US$250-million immunotherapy foundation formed in April by former Facebook president Sean Parker. The trial itself does not yet have a budget. The University of Pennsylvania will manufacture the edited cells, and will recruit and treat patients alongside centres in California and Texas.
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May 17, 2016
Authors : Timothy Caulfield, Douglas Sipp, Charles E. Murry, George Q. Daley, Jonathan Kimmelman.
Article in : Science 13 May 2016: Vol. 352, Issue 6287, pp. 776-777. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4620.
The way science is represented to the public can influence understanding and expectations, frame policy debates, and affect the implementation and use of emerging technologies. Inaccurate representations of research may, for example, lead to public confusion about the readiness of a technology for clinical application. As a result, the issue of science “hype”—in which the state of scientific progress, the degree of certainty in models or bench results, or the potential applications of research are exaggerated—is receiving increased attention from the popular press, the research community, and scientific societies. In newly issued guidelines on the ethical conduct of human pluripotent stem cell research and clinical translation, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) explicitly recognizes and confronts the issue of science hype. By placing a clear obligation on researchers, the ISSCR hopes to make balance in public representations of research a norm associated with scientific integrity. The focus on public communication, which is new to this version of the guidelines, is the result of both specific concerns regarding how stem cell research has been portrayed in the public sphere and the growing recognition that researchers play an important role in the science communication process.
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The International Society for Stem Cell Research has released newly updated guidelines for stem cell research and the development of new clinical therapies. The new guidance comes at a time when rapidly evolving technologies like gene editing in human embryos and emerging areas of stem cell discovery and its applications are providing unprecedented opportunities to understand human biology and disease, but also raising questions that have social and ethical implications. The guidelines build on widely shared principles in science that call for rigor, oversight, and transparency in all areas of practice. Adherence to these principles provides assurance that stem cell research is conducted with scientific and ethical integrity and that new therapies are evidence-based.
More information here.