Editorials

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  • Regenerative medicine may enable replacement of damaged or diseased tissues. But its clinical success will require deeper understanding of the basic biology of the stem cell niche and coordination between stem cell biologists and those in other fields.

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  • Current drug approval regulations in Europe and the United States require that the treatment group demonstrates a clear benefit compared with the control group. These laws should be updated to reflect patient heterogeneity in clinical trials, and allow for approval of drugs that show efficacy in only a subset of treated patients.

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  • Key stakeholders, journals and funders must enable the additional research and early data sharing needed to advance the adoptive T cell therapy field as a whole.

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  • Recent major scientific advances in the ability to replace mitochondria harboring pathological DNA mutations in the germ line could soon be harnessed to tackle mitochondrial diseases. But ethical and scientific concerns require continued debate before such an approach can reach the clinic.

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  • Last month, Juan Carlos López, who was Chief Editor of Nature Medicine for a decade, left the journal for a new position in the biopharmaceutical industry. His team looks back at his legacy and forward to what's next.

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  • The important gains in supporting local biomedical science made by South Africa's Medical Research Council in recent years may be lost unless the country continues to fund and grow this important institution.

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  • Reproducibility in science is a prominent topic in both lay and scientific press. But a new facet of this discussion has arisen in a recent comparison of two pharmacogenomic studies, and it calls for an evaluation of how we interpret science in the face of discrepant results.

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  • Advocacy for the integrity of the scientific record is stronger than ever. Paradoxically, retracting a flawed paper is getting more and more difficult.

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  • University technology transfer offices are tasked with helping bring the inventions made by academics to the attention of potential investors. But selling off intellectual property to patent aggregators in an effort to bring in money to their institutions could stifle the future development of new technologies.

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  • Gains in human health come at the expense of animals in the lab. But denying those gains by hampering animal research could be far costlier.

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  • The establishment of an NIH working group managing access to HeLa cell genomic data highlights the limitations of assuring the privacy of participants in genomics studies. If, as this case illustrates, anonymity cannot be guaranteed, informed consent rules may need to be revised.

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  • The American Medical Association recently voted to recognize obesity as a disease. The potential implications of this resolution are manifold, but a better understanding of the underlying biology is necessary to help effect meaningful change.

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  • Public health and research efforts directed at managing and targeting viral hepatitis have borne fruit in recent decades. However, more work is necessary to meet the goals of preventing transmission and treating infection to eliminate the enormous burden of hepatitis worldwide.

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  • The ability to patent human genes has been costly to researchers and patients, and has restricted competition in the biotech marketplace. The recent US Supreme Court decision making isolated human genes unpatentable will bring freedom of choice to the patient, and level the playing field for research and development.

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  • A recent plea by oncologists condemning inflated prices for some cancer drugs has ignited a debate on this topic between clinicians and pharmaceutical companies and highlights the need for a broader assessment of drug valuation.

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  • The publication of a controversial study by a US National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded researcher suggesting a link between the Tea Party and the tobacco industry has brought the NIH under fire by Congress. But strict policing of NIH grantees would be a waste of resources and a setback to scientific inquiry.

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  • Nature journals' updated editorial policies aim to improve transparency and reproducibility.

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  • A recent study showing that mice do not reproduce the patterns of gene expression induced by human inflammatory disease has provoked renewed discussion of the validity of animal models in translational research.

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