When scientists learned how to turn back the clock in a young skin cell, to bring it back to an early-stage cell that could become any other type in the body, both they and ethicists rejoiced. These induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS cells) might eliminate some of the ethical dilemmas posed by the use of embryonic stem cells because they do not require the destruction of human embryos. But the new technology is, in fact, creating new ethical quandaries.
Sally Lehrman,Knight Ridder San Jose Mercury News Endowed Chair in Journalism and the Public Interest at Santa Clara University, outlines the issues and invites response.
Head Team Physician for the San Francisco 49ers Daniel Garza talks about Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a virulent skin infection that can be spread in locker rooms and playing fields. In conversation with Ethics Center Executive-in-Residence Jim Balassone, Garza reflects on the illness and ethical approaches to managing it for athletic organizations.
The Ethics Center joins the San Francisco 49ers Foundation in sponsoring a conference this Thursday on MRSA, a virulent skin infection that is a particular danger for athletes because it is spread by skin-to-skin or skin-to-equipment contact.
Ethical best practices will the the focus of the conference, which will also include information on the medical aspects of the illness.
The conference is intended for high school and college coaches, trainers, and athletic directors. It will feature physicians and trainers from the 49ers, SCU, San Jose State, and UC-Berkeley.
"Stem cells from adult skin are as morally fraught as embryonic stem cells," argues Center Fellow Sally Lehrman in a recent article for Scientific American. Besides "futuristic-sounding possibilities such as creating gametes for reproduction," Lehrman explores the rights of tissue donors.
Lehrman is the Knight Ridder/San Jose Mercury News Endowed Chair for Journalism in the Public Interest at Santa Clara University.
Courtenay Bruce joined the Center staff this summer as assistant director of heath care ethics. She manages the Center’s Health Care Ethics Intern Program, which gives undergraduates a first-hand look at ethical dilemmas in a hospital setting. She also provides clinical ethics consultation, education, and policy review and development for our partner hospitals.
Prior to joining the Center staff, Bruce held the Cleveland Fellowship in Advanced Bioethics at a partnership among five institutions: Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, MetroHealth Medical Center, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, and Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.
She has her doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center, where her emphasis was in health law and health policy. She interned at the United States 14th Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas. She also holds an MA in bioethics from Case Western Reserve University.
The case for developing an AIDS vaccine as the best ethical response to the global epidemic is advanced by SCU senior Erin Cleveland in her honors thesis, developed under the director of Center Director of Bioethics Margaret R. McLean. Subtitled "A Call for Justice," Cleveland's piece concludes that "Those of us in the developed world are called to use the many resources at our disposal to assist those in the developing world without access to such resources."
What obligations do pharmaceutical companies have to their stock holders and development financers? What responsibilities, if any, does the pharmaceutical industry have to both the local and global communities?
Graudating senior Kari Kjos, a 2009-10 Hackworth Fellow at the Ethics Center, created a discussion module for students to address these questions. Drawing on a video case by Center Director Kirk O. Hanson, the module offers background information on the science, discussion questions, and an op-ed on the topic.