Also: AI’s potential value in breast cancer screening, and three-year sentence for CRISPR scientist
(George Dvorsky, Gizmodo, 12/30/19)
Chinese scientist He Jiankui was sentenced to three years in prison for violating the country’s ban against using gene editing to create human embryos. The babies created by He and two other scientists, who received lighter sentences, are supposedly immune to HIV infection. However, the long-term effects of his experiments are not yet known. The sentencing is seen as a step in the right direction for the enforcement of Chinese laws on human experimentation.
(Etta D. Pisano, Nature, 1/1/20)
Using an AI trained on a large dataset of mammogram images, scientists have reported that their AI screening program for breast cancer can outperform expert radiologists. The researchers used almost 30,000 mammogram images to train their program, though the only demographic information that was recorded for the images was age. The program will still need to progress through clinical trials and will need to address acceptable dataset diversity for patients’ age, race, and environmental factors.
(National Institutes of Health, 1/2/20)
National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have reported improved efficacy for the traditional tuberculosis (TB) vaccine by simply changing the route of administration and the dosage. The only approved TB vaccine has been in use for 100 years, and has proved effective against disseminated TB, but not pulmonary TB. By changing the dose and administering intravenously instead of intradermally, the scientists reported better immunization results in animal models.
—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writers Mary Parker and Regina Kelder