Archive by category | Policy

Bone marrow donors can be paid, US court rules

Bone marrow donors can be paid, US court rules

In a ruling that may bring relief to cancer patients across the US, a federal appeals court said that a decades-old law banning the sale of human organs does not apply to bone marrow donations. The US National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 prohibits financial compensation for human organ donations, including bone marrow, but allows people to be paid for blood and plasma donations. At the time, lawmakers made that distinction because the method used to extract marrow was dangerous, and monetary kickbacks could have encouraged desperate people to take unnecessary risks. As a disincentive to sell organs, the crime  … Read more

WHO’s the boss: Chan set to stay at the helm of the global health agency

WHO’s the boss: Chan set to stay at the helm of the global health agency

The US Republican party has a long list of potential candidates to choose from for the 2012 presidential bid, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has no such leadership race. Today, the WHO, the Geneva-based health arm of the United Nations, announced that the organization had received just a single nomination for its next director-general: the incumbent Margaret Chan.  Read more

Research organizations push back against clinical trials directive

LONDON — European legislation intended to streamline clinical research is so steeped in bureaucracy that it is threatening “the development of potentially lifesaving treatments,” says a consortium of 16 research organizations, including Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences.  Read more

Obama leans on regulatory agency to prioritize drug shortages

With the US Congress largely in a state of ineffectual paralysis, President Barack Obama has turned to his executive authority to get things done. Last week, he signed an executive order that will shorten the time it takes to turn federally-funded research into commercial products. And this afternoon, he pushed through an executive action aimed at tackling the current drug shortages affecting patients, doctors, clinical trials and biomedical researchers nationwide.  Read more

Universal HPV vaccination for boys recommended

Universal HPV vaccination for boys recommended

Crossposted from Nature’s news blog Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann may have railed recently in opposition to vaccinating schoolgirls against the cancer-causing human papilloma virus (HPV), experts who advise the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seem prepared to up the ante. Today, on a vote of 13 in favor with one abstention, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said that 11- and 12-year-old boys, like their female counterparts, should receive the series of three immunizations against the virus, which infects some 20 million Americans and causes cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, and anus as  … Read more

Antibiotics bill GAINs Senate support

Antibiotics bill GAINs Senate support

A major US legislative effort aimed at kickstarting the development of new antimicrobial agents and combating drug-resistant infections is one step closer to becoming law. Earlier today, Senators Richard Blumenthal (Democrat, Connecticut) and Bob Corker (Republic, Tennessee) introduced the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now (GAIN) Act, a companion to a similar bill brought forward in the House of Representatives in June.  Read more

Protein folding pioneer named new director of NIH’s basic research arm

Protein folding pioneer named new director of NIH’s basic research arm

The US National Institutes of Health announced today that cell biologist Chris Kaiser will head up the $2 billion basic research arm of the federal funding agency. Kaiser, currently chair of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s biology department, expects to take over the reins of the US National Institute of General and Medical Sciences (NIGMS) from interim director Judith Greenberg in the spring of 2012. “This job is probably one of the only jobs I would ever consider leaving MIT for. It is so important,” Kaiser told Nature Medicine. “I view it as one of the most important administrative positions  … Read more

New fee structure proposed by FDA might lead to more talk

Ever since 1992, when US lawmakers passed the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) to accelerate review of new drugs by the US Food and Drug Administration, industry money has had an increasingly important role in fueling the regulatory agency. In the program’s first year, drug companies paid less than $9 million total to the FDA through the initiative. But in the past two decades the amount has ballooned; this year, the agency anticipates receiving at least $619 million in user fees, composing roughly 65% of its budget for overseeing human drugs.  Read more