New evidence of a clinical trial conducted in the 1940s containing blatant ethical abuses has prompted President Obama to establish a panel to investigate clinical trial ethical rules.
Based on new revelations of a study conducted in Guatemala in the 1940s, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has convened a panel to investigate the ethical rules for clinical trials. Apparently, between 1946-1948 in a US-funded study, Guatemalan prisoners and soldiers were exposed to syphilis and gonorrhea in order to study how to treat the disease. At that time, indications were that penicillin was a successful treatment for disease. Unfortunately, some wanted to test other treatment options, so they infected prisoners, soldiers and others with syphilis or gonorrhea and tested other therapies. No data was published from this study and it isn’t clear if other therapies were developed. The scientists did receive institutional approval to conduct the study but it does not appear that individuals knew they were being infected and tested.
Ethical policies regarding use of human subjects have changed dramatically since the 1940s. Today, no experimentation on humans can occur without the expressed informed consent of the patient involved. An international panel, with advisors from 10 countries, will review these policies and ensure the safety of human subjects.
Visit bitsofscience.org for interesting new scientific updates!
Interested in synopses of the latest in science? Click here to read InCITE.