The nanomedicine field is fast evolving toward complex, “active,” and interactive formulations. Like many emerging technologies, nanomedicine raises questions of how human subjects research (HSR) should be conducted and the adequacy of current oversight, as well as how to integrate concerns over occupational, bystander, and environmental exposures. The history of oversight for HSR investigating emerging technologies is a patchwork quilt without systematic justification of when ordinary oversight for HSR is enough versus when added oversight is warranted. Nanomedicine HSR provides an (...) occasion to think systematically about appropriate oversight, especially early in the evolution of a technology, when hazard and risk information may remain incomplete. This paper presents the consensus recommendations of a multidisciplinary, NIH-funded project group, to ensure a science-based and ethically informed approach to HSR issues in nanomedicine, and to integrate HSR analysis with analysis of occupational, bystander, and environmental concerns. We recommend creating two bodies, an interagency Human Subjects Research in Nanomedicine (HSR/N) Working Group and a Secretary's Advisory Committee on Nanomedicine (SAC/N). HSR/N and SAC/N should perform 3 primary functions: (1) analysis of the attributes and subsets of nanomedicine interventions that raise HSR challenges and current gaps in oversight; (2) providing advice to relevant agencies and institutional bodies on the HSR issues, as well as federal and federal-institutional coordination; and (3) gathering and analyzing information on HSR issues as they emerge in nanomedicine. HSR/N and SAC/N will create a home for HSR analysis and coordination in DHHS (the key agency for relevant HSR oversight), optimize federal and institutional approaches, and allow HSR review to evolve with greater knowledge about nanomedicine interventions and greater clarity about attributes of concern. (shrink)
Research on the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of human genomics has devoted significant attention to the research ethics issues that arise from genomic science as it moves through the translational process. Given the prominence of these issues in today's debates over the state of research ethics overall, these studies are well positioned to contribute important data, contextual considerations, and policy arguments to the wider research ethics community's deliberations, and ultimately to develop a research ethics that can help guide (...) biomedicine's future. In this essay, we illustrate this thesis through an analytic summary of the research presented at the 2011 ELSI Congress, an international meeting of genomics and society researchers. We identify three pivotal factors currently shaping genomic research, its clinical translation, and its societal implications: (1) the increasingly blurred boundary between research and treatment; (2) uncertainty — that is, the indefinite, indeterminate, and incomplete nature of much genomic information and the challenges that arise from making meaning and use of it; and (3) the role of negotiations between multiple scientific and non-scientific stakeholders in setting the priorities for and direction of biomedical research, as it is increasingly conducted “in the public square.”. (shrink)
Risks of harm, translational uncertainty, ambiguities in potential direct benefit, and long-term follow-up merit consideration in first-in-human research. Some nanomedical technologies have additional characteristics that should be addressed, including: defining and describing nanomedical interventions; bystander risks; the therapeutic misconception; and a decision-making context that includes both common use of nanomaterials outside medicine and persistent unknowns about the effects of nanosize. This paper considers how to address these issues in informed consent to first-in-human nanomedicine research.
Biodefense and emerging infectious disease animal research aims to avoid or ameliorate human disease, suffering, and death arising, or potentially arising, from natural outbreaks or intentional deployment of some of the world’s most dreaded pathogens. Top priority research goals include finding vaccines to prevent, diagnostic tools to detect, and medicines for smallpox, plague, ebola, anthrax, tularemia, and viral hemorrhagic fevers, among many other pathogens (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [NIAID] priority pathogens). To this end, increased funding for conducting (...) research, developing research facilities, and purchasing (stockpiling) developed vaccines, diagnostic tools, and therapeutics .. (shrink)
At the time of this writing, a widely publicized, waived-consent trial is underway. Sponsored by Northfield Laboratories, Inc. (Evanston, IL) the trial is intended to evaluate the emergency use of PolyHeme®, an oxygen-carrying resuscitative fluid that might prevent deaths from uncontrolled bleeding. The protocol allows patients in hemorrhagic shock to be randomized between PolyHeme® and saline in the field and, still without consent, randomized between PolyHeme® and blood after arrival at an emergency department. The Federal regulations that govern the waiver (...) of consent restrict its applicability to circumstances where proven, satisfactory treatments are unavailable. Blood - the standard treatment for hemorrhagic shock - is not available in ambulances but is available in hospitals. The authors argue that the in-hospital stage of the study fails to meet ethical and regulatory standards. (shrink)