If stem cell-based therapies are developed, we will likely confront a difficult problem of justice: for biological reasons alone, the new therapies might benefit only a limited range of patients. In fact, they might benefit primarily white Americans, thereby exacerbating long-standing differences in health and health care.
We report on the deliberations of an interdisciplinary group of experts in science, law, and philosophy who convened to discuss novel ethical and policy challenges in stem cell research. In this report we discuss the ethical and policy implications of safety concerns in the transition from basic laboratory research to clinical applications of cell-based therapies derived from stem cells. Although many features of this transition from lab to clinic are common to other therapies, three aspects of stem cell biology pose (...) unique challenges. First, tension regarding the use of human embryos may complicate the scientific development of safe and effective cell lines. Second, because human stem cells were not developed in the laboratory until 1998, few safety questions relating to human applications have been addressed in animal research. Third, preclinical and clinical testing of biologic agents, particularly those as inherently complex as mammalian cells, present formidable challenges, such as the need to develop suitable standardized assays and the difficulty of selecting appropriate patient populations for early phase trials. We recommend that scientists, policy makers, and the public discuss these issues responsibly, and further, that a national advisory committee to oversee human trials of cell therapies be established. **NB we did not reccommend a NAC, we think it might be appropriate**. (shrink)
Pragmata: Festschrift für Klaus Oehler Chiefly in German, this handsomely produced volume, occasioned by the 80th birthday of Hamburg philosopher Klaus Oehler, assembles 31 papers, divided among 4 sections, successively devoted to ancient philosophy, semiotics, pragmatism and topics in modernity. One of the papers appears in French, “La philosophie de la musique dans l’ancien stoicisme,” by Evanghelos Moutsopoulos of the University of Athens. The book also contains 5 papers in English, concentrated in the sections on semiotics and pragmatism, including authors (...) familiar in these pages, such as Richard Robin “Charles Sanders Peirce Then and Now,” and Sandra Rosenthal writing on Peirce’s “neglected argument.” Several of the authors writing in German are also familiar to readers of these pages, including Helmut Pape, Hans Joas and Ludwig Nagl. The book is filled out with a short preface by the editors, a catalogue of the writings of Klaus Oehler from 1989 to 2008 (including mention of recent attention to William James), a comprehensive index of names and information on the contributing authors. The overall design of the book gives the impression of Peircean semiotics and pragmatism mediating between the ancients and modern problems.<br> The editors note some of Oehler’s honors: He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens (1993), was the first German President of the C.S. Peirce Society (1982) and in 1998 was awarded the International Prize of the Antonio Iannone Foundation in Rome. The title “Pragmata” is understood to stand for thought’s needed reference to facts and reality, and it expresses concern with relevance (Sachbezug). It is indicative of Oehler’s rejection of “all idealistic speculation,” and his “radical critique of idealism and utopian thinking” (Hingst and Liatsi, p. 9). One may sense Peirce-inspired echoes of the nineteenth century, neo-Kantian flight from Hegel: “Zu der Sache.”<br>. (shrink)