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Humans co-evolved with immune-related diseases — and it’s still happening

December 6, 2019 dna 0
Some of the same mutations allowing humans to fend off deadly infections also make us more prone to certain inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. Researchers describe how ancestral origins impact the likelihood that people of African or Eurasian descent might develop immune-related diseases. The authors also share evidence that the human immune system is still evolving.
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Prostate cancer ‘super responders’ live for 2 years on immunotherapy

December 6, 2019 dna 0
Some men with advanced prostate cancer who have exhausted all other treatment options could live for two years or more on immunotherapy, a major clinical trial has shown. Researchers found that a small proportion of men were ‘super responders’ and were alive and well even after the trial had ended despite having had a very poor prognosis before treatment.
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‘Junk DNA’ affects inherited cancer risk

December 6, 2019 dna 0
A person’s risk of developing cancer is affected by genetic variations in regions of DNA that don’t code for proteins, previously dismissed as ‘junk DNA’, according to new research. This new study shows that inherited cancer risk is not only affected by mutations in key cancer genes – known as oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes – but that variations in the DNA that controls the expression of these genes can also drive the disease.
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Donors, authors, and owners: how is genomic citizen science addressing interests in research outputs?

December 6, 2019 dna 0
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Donors, authors, and owners: how is genomic citizen science addressing interests in research outputs?

BMC Med Ethics. 2019 Nov 21;20(1):84

Authors: Guerrini CJ, Lewellyn M, Majumder MA, Trejo M, Canfield I, McGuire AL

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Citizen science is increasingly prevalent in the biomedical sciences, including the field of human genomics. Genomic citizen science initiatives present new opportunities to engage individuals in scientific discovery, but they also are provoking new questions regarding who owns the outputs of the research, including intangible ideas and discoveries and tangible writings, tools, technologies, and products. The legal and ethical claims of participants to research outputs become stronger-and also more likely to conflict with those of institution-based researchers and other stakeholders-as participants become more involved, quantitatively and qualitatively, in the research process. It is not yet known, however, how genomic citizen science initiatives are managing the interests of their participants in accessing and controlling research outputs in practice. To help fill this gap, we conducted an in-depth review of relevant policies and practices of U.S.-based genomic citizen science initiatives.
METHODS: We queried the peer-reviewed literature and grey literature to identify 22 genomic citizen science initiatives that satisfied six inclusion criteria. A data collection form was used to capture initiative features, policies, and practices relevant to participants’ access to and control over research outputs.
RESULTS: This analysis revealed that the genomic citizen science landscape is diverse and includes many initiatives that do not have institutional affiliations. Two trends that are in apparent tension were identified: commercialization and operationalization of a philosophy of openness. While most initiatives supported participants’ access to research outputs, including datasets and published findings, none supported participants’ control over results via intellectual property, licensing, or commercialization rights. However, several initiatives disclaimed their own rights to profit from outputs.
CONCLUSIONS: There are opportunities for citizen science initiatives to incorporate more features that support participants’ access to and control over research outputs, consistent with their specific objectives, operations, and technical capabilities.

PMID: 31752834 [PubMed – in process]