Research Ethics Roundup: GM rice, cancer trials, treatment of subject injury, and more!

Autumn officially begins tomorrow, so whether you spend your weekend watching football, picking apples, or indulging in some pumpkin pie, make sure you leave room for our Research Ethics Roundup. This week’s installment features articles on recent protests over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in China, the human side of clinical trials, and more!

Greenpeace out to sea on GM rice issue, bioethicist says: Greenpeace has been extremely critical of a US Department of Agriculture (USDA)- and National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study in China, which sought to examine the effects of genetically modified rice on a population of children with historically low levels of vitamin A. The author of this article argues that Greenpeace’s protestations have stigmatized a successful research study that could help prevent death or blindness in thousands of children, over a categorically negative perception of genetically modified foods as a whole.

Treatment of subject injury: Fair is fair:
In this post from Bill of Heath, a blog from the Petrie-Flom Center at
Harvard University, PRIM&R faculty member Suzanne Rivera, PhD,
highlights the lack of clarity surrounding who is financially
responsible for treatment when a research subject is harmed as a result
of his or her participation in a study. Dr. Rivera also discusses the
complications that can arise when an institutional review board (IRB),
sponsor, or institution attempts to limn the details of liability
relating to injury of a participant.

Vets and physicians find research parallels: A trend of collaboration and cooperation has emerged between the fields of human and animal medicine. This interdisciplinary approach has led to stunning advances on both sides, and has helped to narrow what has traditionally been a decades-long gap between animal and human medicine.

The trials of cancer trials: In
this personal essay, Susan Gubar details the complexity and uncertainty
of cancer research trials from a subject’s perspective. From daunting
consent forms to the disappointment of disqualification, Ms. Gubar
deftly illuminates the emotional toll of participation in scientific

Looking for more news? PRIM&R members can visit our Knowledge Center to find more recent scholarly journal and popular media articles pertaining to research ethics. Not yet a member? Learn more about becoming a member by visiting our website.