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June 15, 2019

 

Welcome to the Genomics in Society Digest

Genomics in Society: Genomics and its related Ethical, Economic, Environmental, Legal and Social aspects.
This news digest is published by Genomics in Society at Genome Alberta. Feel free to forward to your colleagues.

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News

Genome Canada is seeking its next President and CEO

Yes, Marc LePage is retiring, and the search is on.

“Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President & CEO will develop and articulate a compelling vision and strategy that demonstrates the organization’s passionate commitment to propel and translate genomic research into innovation with social, economic and/or commercial benefits to Canadians.” Read more about the opportunity and how to apply (pdf file).

Brexit 'may bar UK scientists from €100bn EU research fund'

Horizon Europe is a proposed €100 billion (US$113 billion) research funding initiative and Nobel prize-winner Sir Paul Nurse worries that the United Kingdom will be left without access if the country leaves the EU. The multi-year funding program is for academic and commercial research across the EU’s 28 member states and other countries that pay to join in.
Source: The Guardian

Stem cell clinics co-opt clinical-trials registry to market unproven therapies, critics say

Governmental wires are getting crossed say some bioethicists in the United States. Clinicaltrials.gov was launched after a law was passed requiring the registration of clinical trials. While most of its entries are legitimate trials there are many that are not “exactly pure as the driven snow”. The mixed message comes when clinics that are the subject of FDA warnings or legal action, are still listed with no indication of any problems. Patients looking for relief accept the site’s listing as safe and in many cases the database has become a good way for less reputable companies to boost credibility.
Source: STAT News

WATCH: Stem cell therapy advertisements in Nova Scotia ‘unproven,’ experts say

US-based Vitality Healthcare is making its joint pain treatment pitch on Canadian TV, but Tim Caulfield says it is nothing more than “scienceploitation”. Stem cell therapy is an encouraging area of research for treating joint and arthritic pain, however none have been approved by Health Canada. This 2-minute video report outlines the ads for the unproven treatments being aired in Nova Scotia.
Source: Global News

Global collaborations are changing conditions for women in STEM

The Women in Science, Health, and Innovation conference was organized under the guidance of Judy Illes, a Professor of Neurology and Director of Neuroethics Canada at the University of British Columbia , and Santa J. Ono, President of the University of British Columbia. In this article from The Conversation, the 2 share their thoughts on the challenge of broadening the leadership of women in science and engineering.

Regulatory Roadmaps

In the 2018 federal budget, a series of regulatory reviews were identified. The reviews have been completed and this past week, four “Regulatory Roadmaps” were released by the Honourable Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government. The Roadmaps are intended to remove barriers that hinder innovation and economic growth in this country. The 4 areas initially targeted were agri-food and aquaculture, health and biosciences, transportation, and infrastructure. Needless to say re-tooling regulatory processes is an intricate task so if you are interested in working your way through the documents here are some links you’ll need:

Funding science research: Where is Canada going?

Making the case for innovation and investment in basic science and science for the public good.
Source: The Star

Fetal tissue research like mine saves children’s lives. Banning it is dangerous.

Carolyn Coyne is a virologist and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her lab works on understanding the mechanisms which prevent and enable the transmission of microorganisms within the human body – with an emphasis on fetal and neonatal health. She worries that the policy shift in the United States that bans or restricts the use of human fetal tissue for medical research could be devastating.
Source: Washington Post

WATCH: Cannabis: Cultivating Knowledge, Growing Innovation

Genome BC’s 17th annual Genomics Forum focused on cannabis this year. The event discussed human health, cannabis plant genomics & agrifood, commercial opportunities, and the cannabis and societal issues. The sessions were recorded and are posted on YouTube so you can view them anytime.

Feature: Gene Editing News Up arrow

Russian biologist plans more CRISPR-edited babies

Denis Rebrikov heads the gene-editing lab at the Kulakov National Medical Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology in Moscow and he seems to be poised to stir the CRISPR bioethics pot once again. He wants to implant gene-edited embryos into women before the end of the year, if he gets the required approvals. Chinese scientist He Jiankui was the first to try the procedure and opened up the debate about the use of the technology in humans.
Source: Nature article and Editorial





Papers & Features Up arrow

How to Peddle Hope: An Analysis of YouTube Patient Testimonials of Unproven Stem Cell Treatments

Hawke, B, et al. 2019 Stem Cell Results DOI:10.1016/j.stemcr.2019.05.009

Unproven and often dangerous stem cell treatments continue to gain popularity despite efforts to stop the spread of misinformation. One way to engage the problem may have less to do with the facts, and more to do with marketing. The researchers examined the content of 150 YouTube videos with 563,842 views to better understand the business model and marketing strategy behind the successful campaigns.
Source: Stem Cell Reports

Effect of co-infection with a small intestine-restricted helminth pathogen on oral prion disease pathogenesis in mice

Sánchez-Quintero, A., 2019 Nature Scientific Reports DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-42900-9

Prion infections are caused by abnormally shaped proteins and can be passed on by eating contaminated meat. A team led by Professor Neil Mabbott at The Roslin Institute hasinvestigated whether gut worms could influence the risk of contracting prions. Their work has indicated that in animals that had previously been infected with a gut worm, the spread of the prions to the brain was reduced, delaying the onset of disease.
Source: Nature Scientific Reports

Events Up arrow

Visit Genome Alberta's extensive Events Calendar on our website at GenomeAlberta.ca. Connect With Us to sign up for our newsletters and see the Calendar of Events.


Genomic Research and Innovation in Alberta

Genome Alberta and the Life Sciences Innovation Hub invites you to this community event for a discussion on omic-related research and innovation in Alberta.

Genome Alberta’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Gijs van Rooijen will offer insights into the current opportunities to create commercial impact through omic-related research and innovation. Learn how Genome Alberta's research programs can help you to realize the social, economic, environmental and medical benefits for all Albertans and Canadians.

When:  27 June 2019, 5pm – 7pm. Speaking program at 5, followed be networking at 5:30.

Free registration available online

Till & McCulloch Meetings

The Till & McCulloch Meetings are Canada's stem cell research conference. As the only conference of its kind in Canada, the Till & McCulloch Meetings provide an unparalleled opportunity to meet and network with Canada's leading stem cell scientists, clinicians, bioengineers and ethicists, as well as representatives from industry, government, health and NGO sectors from around the world.
The 2019 Till & McCulloch Meetings are hosted by the Stem Cell Network and CCRM.

When: 4-6 November 2019
Where: Hotel Bonaventure, Montréal

Early Bird Registration closes on August 14, 2019
Online Registration closes on October 9, 2019

Visit the conference website for details.


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