Editorials

  • Editorial |

    The United Nations Assembly has named 2021 the International Year of Peace and Trust. In that spirit, the world can look forward with hope to the international collaborations spearheaded by the World Health Organization and consider the challenges the agency has yet to face.

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    In formulating the response of the healthcare system to the COVID-19 pandemic, the true toll of the chronic consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection must be uncovered and strategies must be devised for providing integrated care to those with long-term illness.

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    Delivering the potential of artificial intelligence in clinical decision-making will require testing interventions in well-designed randomized clinical trials and reporting these results in a standardized and transparent fashion.

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    The rapid rollout of digital health approaches in the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has neglected to prioritize data privacy and is a missed opportunity for building users’ trust in these technologies for future outbreaks and quotidian healthcare.

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    Government officials who disseminate unsupported claims about the novel coronavirus undermine public trust in science and in the public-health efforts that are essential to bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control.

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    A surge in mental-health problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic is on the horizon. The time to prepare and prevent another health-crisis wave is now.

  • Editorial |

    As the COVID-19 pandemic shuts down labs across the globe, funders and institutions must step up to support scientists and ensure the healthy future of research.

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    Large-scale multi-modal information on patients’ health is ever increasing, providing an opportunity to use big data for taking individualized medicine to a global scale.

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    The recent report of an antisense oligonucleotide therapy designed for only one patient spotlights regulatory, economic and ethical issues that must be grappled with in an era of accelerated development of ‘ultra-personalized’ drugs.

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    The rise in cardiometabolic diseases is linked to the availability of unhealthy products from industry, such as ultraprocessed foods, and studying the efficacy of intervention strategies against these products must be high on the research agenda.

  • Editorial |

    Nature Medicine is taking a comprehensive approach for reporting clinical studies with the aim to increase transparency, promote rigorous reporting standards and engage with the community to meet the challenges of contemporary medicine.

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    As the clinical potential of RNA therapeutics begins to be unveiled, expanding the range of tissue types that can be targeted for delivery of these drugs is now the main hurdle to overcome.

  • Editorial |

    ‘Precision’ in a health context is usually thought to apply to the individual and seems conceptually at odds with efforts in public health directed toward improving population-level health metrics. But are these two aims truly irreconcilable?

  • Editorial |

    Recent measles outbreaks worldwide highlight the urgency of tracking and countering vaccine hesitancy to ensure the continued success of immunization programs.

  • Editorial |

    The National Institutes of Health Human Microbiome Project is coming to a close, offering an opportunity to reflect on its legacy and the urgent need to understand the microbiome of underrepresented populations.

  • Editorial |

    Immune interventions capable of preventing or eradicating HIV infection have yet to achieve broad success in humans. Renewed vigor in the clinical trial arena may bring us closer to that goal.

  • Editorial |

    The use of electronic cigarettes is on the rise, but we need more evidence about their risks as well as their value in curbing tobacco use. Ultimately, we need to design better, smarter vaping tools for smoking cessation.

  • Editorial |

    Cancer surveillance programs have reported a global downward trend in cancer mortality rates for most common tumor types. However, startling geographic inequalities exist, and some cancers continue to pose a challenge. Ensuring global access to high-quality diagnostic and treatment approaches is needed to make decreasing cancer deaths a more widespread trend.

  • Editorial |

    As the world reckons with the news of the first use of genome editing in the human germline, researchers, clinicians, ethicists and policy makers must work across international boundaries to outline a transparent path forward for the responsible translation of this technology in the future.

  • Editorial |

    As Nature Medicine celebrates its 25th anniversary, we bring you a special Focus on Digital Medicine that highlights the new technologies transforming medicine and healthcare, as well as the related regulatory challenges ahead.

  • Editorial |

    Recent news stories about conflict of interest in biomedical research have shaken up public and private institutions alike, but their focus was on clinical research. Amidst the renewed focus on conflicts of interest in clinical work, let’s not disregard the fact that financial conflicts also pose a concern to basic and preclinical research.

  • Editorial |

    Thanks to improvements in data collection and analysis, some polygenic risk scores that predict disease risk are approaching the same predictive accuracy offered by tests for monogenic mutations. The time to think about how best to incorporate polygenic tests in the clinic is now.

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    To facilitate access to and improve the discoverability of the data in our papers, Nature Medicine is making the data availability statement in our papers more prominent and its language more transparent.

  • Editorial |

    Concerns about potential unintended DNA changes that might accidentally arise from CRISPR gene editing have emerged to varying degrees with the advent of the technology. As new therapies move from bench to bedside, scientists need to redouble their efforts to document the spectrum of these off-target effects while also acknowledging the reality that a certain degree of risk is embedded in many promising and successful medical therapies.

  • Editorial |

    With the ongoing demand for assisted reproduction, the need and ability to study the fundamentals of human reproduction at a cellular level have never been greater. At this juncture, we join other Nature Research Journals in formalizing our ethical guidelines for papers in this growing field.

  • Editorial |

    For more than two decades, Nature Medicine has been the prime venue for publication of outstanding work in the translational space. Now the journal’s scope is evolving to embrace the clinical research that meets the challenges and complexities of contemporary medicine.

  • Editorial |

    Influenza causes almost 650,000 deaths worldwide each year, yet a long-lasting, protective vaccine remains elusive. Global investment—both scientific and financial—in a universal flu vaccine is overdue.

  • Editorial |

    Therapies for Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases are desperately needed. Yet, a string of disappointments in the neurodegenerative therapy space has meant that several companies over the years have ended their investment in the field. Some companies have diversified their research and development (R&D) models to hedge their bets. Maintaining this diversity to bring down the silos between big pharma and smaller research teams may be necessary to jumpstart and sustain progress in combatting neurodegenerative conditions.

  • Editorial |

    Tailoring treatment to the individual patient has revolutionized cancer therapy, but personalized medicine has yet to make much headway in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. With emerging insight into disease mechanisms and new treatment options, the time is now ripe for the cardiovascular field to adopt a more personalized approach to therapy.

  • Editorial |

    Mental illnesses impose a grave disease burden worldwide, yet progress in managing and treating them has largely stalled. Harnessing the power of big data may break the current impasse and open new avenues for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these devastating illnesses.

  • Editorial |

    Better animal models of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis are needed to more fully understand the disease and to identify potential new therapeutic treatments for this increasingly common condition.

  • Editorial |

    Genetic association studies of the human genome often omit the X chromosome because of the unique analytical challenges it presents. A concerted effort to undo this exclusion could offer medically relevant insights into basic biology that might otherwise be missed.

  • Editorial |

    A growing number of clinical trials on combination therapies raises the question of to what degree they may be redundant. Systems biology and hypothesis-driven preclinical studies could help to identify the most promising candidates for clinical trials, and also offer new insights into the biological mechanisms that underlie drug synergies.

  • Editorial |

    Drugs administered to children with cancer were typically developed under the assumption that childhood cancers are similar to their tissue-matched adult counterparts. Focusing on identifying and targeting alterations present specifically in childhood tumors will accelerate the development of tailored therapies and improve the prognosis of children with cancer.

  • Editorial |

    Recent evidence shows that both acute and chronic infections can persist in tissue reservoirs that act as a source of subsequent disease. Identifying the parallels of reservoir maintenance by diverse pathogens might offer new leads to enable their control.

  • Editorial |

    Deaths from drug overdose are rising worldwide, in part owing to the growing epidemic of opioid addiction. Efforts to combat opioid addiction will benefit from stronger collaboration between preclinical researchers who are studying addiction and those studying chronic pain.

  • Editorial |

    Cancer research has made great strides in identifying effective therapies for treating advanced-stage tumors. The next challenge is moving the battle to earlier stages of disease.

  • Editorial |

    Proposed US budget cuts and the impending exit of the UK from the European Union have the potential to destabilize the global biomedical-research enterprise. In the meantime, the uncertainty of not knowing just how bad the effects will be will inflict its own damage.

  • Editorial |

    President Donald Trump's call to speed up drug approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) overlooks the fact that the agency has become faster over the past two decades. When considering changes to the drug-approval process, we should instead increase our investment in the many years of research that precede approval.

  • Editorial |

    The scientific process relies on people's willingness to publish data-driven findings. Turning to the legal system to adjudicate the merit of evidence-based assertions in the scientific literature leads us down a dangerous path.

  • Editorial |

    Immune-related adverse effects are understudied and not easily treatable risks of cancer immunotherapy. Concerted research efforts to understand the mechanisms of immunotherapy-triggered responses are crucial for developing better treatments.

  • Editorial |

    Changing political and funding landscapes in the US create an uncertain environment for biomedical research. The research community must insist that scientific policy follow from science, not political partisanship.

  • Editorial |

    Recent ballot initiatives instituting a tax on sugary drinks in the US, alongside related efforts by other countries and support from the World Health Organization, bring to the forefront the need for greater scientific insight into how sugars affect metabolic health.