Brown Publishes Commentary in ‘The Lancet HIV’

Brandon Brown, an assistant professor in the Center for Healthy Communities in the School of Medicine, has published a commentary in the October 2016 issue of The Lancet HIV titled “Transparency of participant incentives in HIV research.” He and three coauthors (at Harvard University, Yale University, and UC San Diego) acknowledge the absence of guidance on incentive decision making. They note that “researchers face the ethical question, ‘What are fair incentives for my planned study?’ This is a particular problem in HIV research since participants often face more than minimal risk, and the epidemic is concentrated in key populations who may be socially marginalized and more likely swayed by incentives.”

Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown

“Potential participants could see the incentives as being very attractive compared to the perceived risks, and this could result in such participants fabricating, exaggerating or hiding symptoms and behaviors,” Brown said. “Inadequate incentives and lack of reimbursement may also be exploitative to participants who enroll in high risk studies.”

The authors stress that incentives can impact how effectively clinical trial results are translated into real world adoption. They call for funders to require reporting incentives on clinicaltrials.gov and for journals to disclose incentives in their publications.

Related to The Lancet HIV article, Brown was recently awarded a diversity supplement — akin to career development funding — from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health to explore the impact of incentives in future HIV cure studies. The diversity supplement would allow him to expand the scope of his global research domestically to the United States, and foster local collaborations with philosophers and ethicists with an interest in HIV cure research on which to build future NIH applications.

Declan McCole To Speak at New York Academy of Sciences Symposium

Declan McCole, an associate professor of biomedical sciences in the UC Riverside School of Medicine, is one of six speakers at the “Healing of the Intestinal Epithelial Barrier” symposium that will take place Nov. 15 at the New York Academy of Sciences.

Presented by the Biochemical Pharmacology Discussion Group at the academy, the symposium will evaluate the latest research investigating the benefits of achieving mucosal healing for the treatment of intestinal disorders. Increased permeability of the intestinal epithelium is associated with human diseases.

Declan McCole

The intestinal epithelium is a single layer of cells that plays a critical role in human health. Intestinal epithelial cells are critical for the breakdown and uptake of nutrients, for absorption and secretion of electrolytes and water, regulation of immune function, communication with the intestinal microbiome, and protection from pathogen infection.

“All of these features are critically dependent on an intact epithelial barrier,” McCole said. “When this barrier breaks down it can give rise to severe chronic inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), necrotizing enterocolitis and celiac disease, as well as acute events such as infectious diarrhea and sepsis. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms involved in regulating the intestinal epithelial barrier in health and disease is vital if we are to develop strategies to effectively promote healing of this barrier.”

McCole’s talk at the New York Academy of Sciences will focus on how defects in the intestinal epithelial barrier contribute to the development of IBD. In particular, he will discuss how his lab identified that a risk candidate gene associated with IBD helps to protect the barrier against the effects of inflammation. In addition, he will demonstrate that when expression of this gene is reduced or loss-of-function mutations associated with IBD are present, it can lead to intestinal barrier function defects.

His research at UC Riverside explores the role of genetics in intestinal health—particularly the onset of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. He earned his bachelor’s degree in pharmacology, followed by his Ph.D. in pharmacology & veterinary medical research from University College Dublin, Ireland. He then conducted his postdoctoral work on the gut’s role in immune system health at UC San Diego. He joined UC Riverside in 2013.

Registration information for the symposium can be found here.

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