Research Ethics Roundup: Room temperature for lab mice, searching for treatments for rare diseases, and more

After a brief hiatus for PRIM&R’s 2013 Advancing Ethical Research Conference, Research Ethics Roundup is back. During this season of giving thanks, we are grateful for all our loyal readers who are committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and research ethics news. Before you head off to enjoy time with family and friends, be sure to take in a few of the latest stories from the field:

Chilly Lab Mice Skew Cancer Studies: A new study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that international guidelines for room temperature may be leaving laboratory mice uncomfortably cold, a condition that might affect experimental results.

Trials: A Desperate Fight to Save Kids & Change Science: Using vivid firsthand accounts, journalist Amy Dockser Marcus explores several parents’ quests to find treatments for their children facing rare disease diagnoses and corresponding efforts by researchers  to build partnerships with the sick for the treatment of those diseases.

US to Allow Transplants of HIV Infected Organs: President Obama is expected to sign the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, legislation that will allow for organ transplants between HIV-infected patients, into law. Transplants aren’t expected to begin for at least another year, as the federal Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network must first develop ethical and clinical standards to guide medical research on positive-to-positive transplants. Researchers will need to closely monitor whether antiretroviral drugs will compromise the immunosuppressants transplant patients must take to prevent organ rejection.

Francis Collins: Politics on the Frontier of Science: Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spoke to the Wall Street Journal about public investment in science and research. Dr. Collins expressed concern that the climate of economic uncertainty that NIH is currently facing will cause irreparable harm to the future of biomedical research, and that talented researchers will leave the US to continue their work, or leave science altogether.