News

2019

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Combating Minnesota's Opioid Epidemic

September 13, 2019

The University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management Medical Industry Leadership Institute is hosting "Combating Minnesota's Opioid Epidemic" on Thursday, October 24, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Carlson School of Management. This event is a one-day policy forum convening public and private stakeholders in Minnesota and at the federal level to discuss how to collaboratively build upon current federal, state, and local efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. 
Learn more and register today. 

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Upcoming Events at the Center for Bioethics

August 20, 2019

The Center for Bioethics is kicking off fall semester with Ethics Ground Rounds and Mini Bioethics Academy. The Center for Bioethics' Ethics Grand Rounds is a series of monthly seminars featuring noted local, national, & international bioethics scholars lecturing on a variety of ethical issues in health care & the life sciences. The Mini Bioethics Academy is a three-evening series that engages with faculty and fosters discussion on complex, thought-provoking bioethical issues facing society. Read More.

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Profs. Wolf and Clayton Moderate Panel at 2019 Health Law Professors Conference in Chicago: LawSeq: Building a Legal Foundation for Genomics & Precision Medicine

July 8, 2019

Professor Susan M. Wolf, JD (University of Minnesota) and Professor Ellen Wright Clayton, JD, MD (Vanderbilt University), recently moderated a panel discussion on “LawSeq: Building a Legal Foundation for Genomics & Precision Medicine” at the 2019 Health Law Professors Conference, sponsored by the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics and Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Panelists included Professor Barbara J. Evans, LLM, JD, PhD (University of Houston), Professor Gary Marchant, JD, MPP, PhD (Arizona State University), and Professor Mark Rothstein, JD (University of Louisville). Based cooperatively at the University of Minnesota and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the LawSeqSM project has convened a national working group of top legal and scientific experts to compile, collect, and analyze current US federal and state law and regulation on translational genomics. Read More

Prof. Leigh Turner

Turner Warns of Explosive Growth in Bogus Stem Cell Therapies

June 18, 2019

According to Wired magazine, "Since the mid-2000s, clinics have been selling expensive, unproven stem-cell treatments to any patient desperate enough to believe their claims of cures for everything from arthritis to autism." These clinics have "been tied to serious infections, several cases of blindness, and one patient’s death." Leigh Turner, a professor at the Center for Bioethics, a Consortium member, has authored several major research papers on the growing availability of questionable stem-cell therapies. Turner notes that despite greater FDA scutiny, which includes an "increase the rule changes and the public hearings and more inspections and warning letters and the lawsuits, the market is still expanding at a rapid rate.” A recent Pro Publica/New Yorker investigation provides additional details of the promotional methods and dubious science that ensnares consumers in these dangerous interventions.

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CSH Offers Wide Variety of Wellbeing Resources

June 11, 2019

The Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing (CSH), a Consortium member, is among the nation's leading institutions dedicated to research-based approaches to integrative health and healing. CSH is an interdisciplinary unit of the University's Academic Health Center, School of Nursing, Medical School, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Pharmacy, School of Public Health, and School of Dentistry. Among the resources available from CSH is a website, Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing, which provides a self-assessment tool, goal-setting advice, and information about trying holistic practices and managing health conditions. Check out the website here

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Gene Patent Policy Under Review by Congress

June 6, 2019

A new article in Wired by Megan Molteni describes potentially momentous changes in the legal status of gene patents. According to Molteni, "In 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down patents on two human genes – BRCA1 and BRCA2 – associated with breast and ovarian cancers. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court at the time that isolated DNA 'is a product of nature and not patent eligible.' The historic decision invalidated patents held by Myriad Genetics" and opened the way for companies like 23andMe to offer direct-to-consumer tests of BRCA and other genes. A new bill making its way through Congress would make "changes to several sections of the statutes covering patent law and [add] a provision that would nullify the Supreme Court’s exceptions." The congressional debate is driven by concerns that overly stringent patent rules are hindering US companies from creating potentially lucrative new diagnostic tools, allowing rivals like China to outpace American innovation. Hearings are currently underway to clarify the intention of the bill and ensure it effectively addresses industry concerns. Read the entire Wired article here, and one on the same topic from GenomeWeb here. For more information about genomics law and policy, visit the NIH-funded LawSeqSM website, created by the Consortium in collaboration with Vanderbilt University. 

Integrated Food Systems Leadership Program

Applications Being Accepted for New Food Systems Leadership Program

June 3, 2019

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities has launched the Integrated Food Systems Leadership program (IFSL) designed for working professionals to help bridge the gap between traditional food system education and professional leadership programs. The IFSL program is a graduate-level certification that provides a broader knowledge of how the food system is interconnected – from farm to fork – while promoting critical thinking and problem solving across disciplines. The curriculum was developed through a partnership between the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), the School of Public Health and the College of Veterinary Medicine. The director of the IFSL program, Jennifer van de Ligt, is on the faculty of the Food Protection and Defense Institute, a Consortium member. Applications are currently being accepted for September 2019 admissions; learn more here.  

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LawSeq Conference Videos Now Available

May 29, 2019

Videos of all sessions of the LawSeqSM conference are now available. This event brought together an eminent group of scientists, researchers, attorneys and clinicians on the campus of the University of Minnesota to grapple with gaps and areas of confusion in genomic law. The symposium was part of the LawSeqSM project, an NIH-funded effort to shape the future of law and policy to encourage the translation of genomic medicine ​from lab to clinic. View the conference videos here. A related resource is the LawSeqSM genomic law website, which includes a searchable database of relevant state and federal law as well as articles and commentaries to provide context. 

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June 20 is Deadline for MnDRIVE Bioremediation Grant Proposals

May 24, 2019

MnDRIVE Environment invites proposals from University of Minnesota faculty for Industrial Partnership Bioremediation Seed Grants; deadline is June 20, 2019. The goal of the seed grant program is to improve bioremediation/biodegradation strategies and their industrial applications through improved understanding, augmentation, or alteration of microorganisms or microbial communities. Faculty research may include basic and applied components, though preference will be given to translational research using microorganisms in environmental cleanup. Only new projects will be considered and seed grant funds may not be used to support existing studies. Applications should emphasize relevance to Minnesota’s industry and environment. Learn more here. Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) is a partnership between the University of Minnesota and the State of Minnesota that aligns areas of research strength with the state’s key and emerging industries; focus areas include Robotics, Global Food, Environment, Brain Conditions and Cancer Clinical Trials.

International Germline Editing Commission Launched

May 22, 2019

The US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and the Royal Society of the UK have announced the formation of an expert group to develop a framework to guide scientists, clinicians and regulators in their use of human germline genome editing. According to the release, "The commission is the latest action from the international science community to address issues around human genome editing. It follows [last November's] Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong," where scientist He Jiankui shocked attendees by revealing the birth of twins whose genomes had been edited. Germline editing is of particular concern because genetic changes will be passed down to future generations, greatly expanding the potential for disastrous, unanticipated outcomes. “'These revelations at the summit in Hong Kong underscore the urgent need for an internationally accepted framework to help . . . address the complex scientific and medical issues surrounding clinical use of germline genome editing,' said NAM President Victor J. Dzau and Royal Society Vice-President John Skehel, co-chairs of the commission’s international oversight board, in a joint statement." The law and policy related to clinical uses of genomic medicine are among the topics addressed in the LawSeqSM project, co-led by Consortium Chair Susan M. Wolf. Learn more about relevant, existing regulations here

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