Research Ethics Roundup: HHS Issues New Rules on Reporting, Cancer Moonshot Advances, Researchers Discover Tissue from Nazi Experiments, and German Efforts to Improve the Perception of Animal Research

by Tim Badmington

This week’s Research Ethics Roundup covers new reporting requirements, the Cancer Moonshot panel’s recommendations, the Max Planck Institute’s sad discovery, and how European researchers are educating the public on nonhuman primate research.

Science students working together in the lab at the university

New Federal Rules Target Woeful Public Reporting of Clinical Trial Results: In this STAT article, reporter Charles Piller writes about the Department of Health and Human Services’ final rule and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) complementary policy on registering certain clinical trials and submitting summary results to One of the cofounders of, Dr. Ben Goldacre, argues that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and NIH need to bolster their enforcement staff in order to ensure compliance. A 2015 STAT investigation found that the FDA had not levied any penalties for noncompliance since the original reporting requirements went into effect.

Cancer ‘Moonshot’ Panel Names Top 10 Ways to Speed Progress Against the Disease: Laurie McGinley of The Washington Post reports on the ten recommendations a blue-ribbon panel sent to Vice President Biden’s cancer moonshot task force made up of federal officials. The panel, composed of patient advocates and researchers, also sent policy issues to the task force that were beyond the panel’s scope, including data sharing obstacles and pediatric drug development incentives. Supporters of the cancer moonshot hope it will accelerate research but Congress has not approved specific funding for any of the moonshot’s initiatives.

Munich Scientific Institute Finds Remains of Brains From Nazi Experiments on Humans: This Haaretz article reports that the Max Planck Institute in Germany recently discovered that it was in the possession of human brains from Nazi experiments during World War II. The brain tissue likely came from the experiments of Julius Hallervorden, a Nazi, who targeted opponents of Adolf Hitler. Hallervorden continued to work as a researcher after the war.

Project Seeks to Improve Image of Animal Research: In this article published by The Scientist, Kerry Grens highlights a German movement called “Understanding Animal Testing,” which seeks to educate the public on nonhuman primate research. Researchers in Europe and the United States are becoming increasingly vocal about their work as they seek to explain to the public the ethics behind their programs.


Tim Badmington