The pros and cons of an animal studies database, the latest on three-parent IVF and a crucial vote on the US Cures Act.
(Science, 11/29/16, David Grimm)
Nine years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration mandated that researchers conducting a clinical trial pre-register the details of their study in an online database similar to the clinical trials.gov site. Daniel Strech, a bioethicist at Hannover Medical School in Germany suggests we should do the same thing for animal experiments. He and his colleagues outlined the pros and cons of this idea in a recent article published earlier this month in PloS Biology, and talked about his idea in an interview with Science. “Registries don’t directly decrease publication bias; they just shed more light on it,” Strech told Science. “But they do provide a lot of incentive for researchers to eventually publish something. And registries should reduce redundancy regardless.”
(The Scientist, 11/30/16, Anna Azvolinsky)
In the latest development in this controversial procedure, researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University and their colleagues demonstrate that nuclear DNA from human eggs harboring mutated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can be transferred to a healthy, nucleus-free donor egg and then successfully fertilized. The researchers also show that certain maternal mtDNA haplotypes may have a replicative advantage, underscoring the potential need to match the donor and carrier egg mtDNA haplotypes. The findings appeared this week in Nature. Mitochondrial replacement has resulted in healthy offspring in certain large animal species, and on human oocytes from donors which, when fertilized, developed to the blastocyte phase.
(Fierce Biotech, 12/1/16, Nick Paul Taylor)
A sweeping biomedical innovation bill that includes nearly $5 billion in dedicated funding for a trio of major research initiatives at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), was passed overwhelmingly by the US House of Representatives this week. The bill has now moved to the Senate, which is expected to pass the legislation. If the Cures Act becomes law, the flow of money will still need to be reauthorized every year. The funding package sets aside $4.8 billion over the next 10 years for three NIH initiatives: $1.4 billion for Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, $1.8 billion for Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer moonshot, and $1.6 billion for the White House’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiative. The bill also provides $30 million over 3 years for regenerative medicine research using adult stem cells.
—Compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Regina McEnery