From a study on the lack of racial diversity in clinical research to appeals for improved clinical trial reporting, this week’s Research Ethics Roundup looks at new policy concerns for the research community.
1. Why Social Media Needs to Have a Code of Ethics for Clinical Research: In this opinion piece for CIO Magazine, Eric Swirsky argues that the clinical research community needs to develop detailed research guidelines for research done with social media data. He points out that social media users may not fully understand the privacy implications that come using with certain sites, and consent and confidentiality issues must be addressed.
2. Health Officials Call for Better Enforcement on Clinical Trial Reporting: In this article from STAT News, Charles Piller reports on the reaction to new findings that trial reporting requirements are not being complied with. World Health Organization officials “called reporting failures ‘unethical,’ because they can ‘lead to exposure of future volunteers to risks already identified but not publicly available.’” Piller also reports that the FDA has not imposed any penalties on companies who have failed to comply with a federal law requiring clinical trial results be reported to ClinicalTrials.gov.
3. Scientists Call for Racial Diversity in Clinical Research: In this piece for Al Jazeera America, Marisa Taylor reports on a new journal article from PLOS Medicine that found “among more than 10,000 studies on cancer funding by the National Cancer Institute (NIH), just 2 percent included a primary focus on racial or ethnic differences in the disease.” The article points out that the 1993 NIH Revitalization Act required researchers to include more women and minorities in studies but that minorities are still being left out of research.
4. Can Our Pets Help Us Develop Better Cancer Treatments?: In this article for ALN Magazine, Duke University’s Angela Spivey highlights how one doctor works to treat cancer in both humans and dogs. Will Eward’s research on sarcoma in dogs and humans is part of the “comparative oncology” approach of which more scientists are taking note.