Author Archives: Anette Breindl

Human germline engineering: The mom’s not in the picture

U.S. and British government agencies are moving toward enabling what would be the first clinical trials of what is, in effect, human germline engineering – genetic modifications that would be passed down through the generations. The modifications would not be…

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Cancer Research Through Time: Cure Should’ve Been Wrapped up by 1985

If you’re looking for a plenary speaker, pick a Pulitzer Prize winner. That was one of the corollary lessons to be had from the talk of Columbia University’s Siddhartha Mukherjee at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Annual Meeting on…

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Evolution: Survival of the Fittest, and Some Others

If you believe in evolution at all, you probably think of it as a good thing for the evolving organism, enabling it to keep up with its environment as that environment changes. I sure do. Of course, we realize that…

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DNA Donor Anonymity: for the Lucky Few?

Privacy concerns related to DNA sequencing got yet another airing today when a team from the Whitehead Institute reported in Science that using only publicly available information, they have been able to identify about 50 men who had anonymously donated…

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What’s 10 minus Four? Not Six, Apparently

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, and when I reflect on AIDS, I generally do it with a sense of amazement about how far we have come in the treatment of HIV since AIDS first came to the attention of…

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A Modest Proposal to the IgNobel Committee

I always love reading about the IgNobel Prizes. The stated goal of the prize is to reward research that “first makes people laugh, and then makes them think.” And this year’s crop of winners once again succeeds at those tasks….

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‘Final Chapter’ on XMRV? Good Luck With That One

Viruses are on the border between living and dead. So are the theories about what some of them cause. Two studies were published last week that showed no link between xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) and either chronic fatigue…

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@ASCO12: Invisible Gorillas, IgNobel Prizes and What it All Means for Drug Discovery

As I may have mentioned before, I love the IgNobel Prizes. So imagine my delight when I found myself in a session at ASCO’s 2012 annual meeting earlier this week listening to the speaker, Anthony Tolcher, talking about The Invisible…

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In Vaccines and Autism Debates, the Truth is That it’s Trust or Consequences

Editor’s note: Since Dr. Breindl first wrote about vaccines and autism in 2008, the paper linking the MMR vaccine to autism has been retracted by the journal that published it, and its author Andrew Wakefield has lost his medical license….

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Want Better Data? Align Professional Incentives

This week, researchers are presenting their latest and greatest at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research. The excitement of all those novel findings, though, received something of an advance puncturing last week by a commentary in…

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