Research Ethics Roundup: Female Mice in Research, IRB Member Conflicts of Interest, and More

From a new report that indicates that the use of regulated animals in biomedical research is declining to an editorial arguing for the use of female mice in research, animal research takes center stage in this week’s Research Ethics Roundup.

Conflicts of Interest on Institutional Review Boards Remain Problematic: A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that while there has been significant progress with respect to reporting and managing institutional review board (IRB) member conflict of interests, there is still more work to be done. Ed Silverman reports on the findings in this article from The Wall Street Journal’s Pharmalot.

Genome Researchers Raise Alarm Over Big Data
: In this piece for Nature, Erika Check Hayden reports on the growing concern among biologists and computer scientists that the challenge of managing genomic data will exceed the capability of current computing resources.

The FDA’s Medical Device Problem: In this opinion piece for The New York Times, Rita F. Redberg and Sanket S. Dhruva argue that the 21st Century Cures Act will “severely weaken, not strengthen, the FDA’s already ineffective regulatory scheme for medical devices. The device industry may stand to benefit from this legislation, but the health of the public does not.”

Use of Regulated Animals in US Biomedical Research Falls to Lowest Levels on Record: In this article from Science, David Grimm reports that new statistics posted by the United States Department of Agriculture reveal that the “number of federally regulated animals used in U.S. biomedical research dropped last year to its lowest level since data collection began in 1972.”

Why Science Needs Female Mice: This editorial from The New York Times reflects on a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience, which “suggests that research done on male animals may not hold up for women.” The authors of the editorial argue that new grant requirements from the NIH, which require justification for only using one sex in research, are a step in the right direction.