Animal and Human
A Case Study of the Tuskegee Syphilis Project
Articles in "Taking Sides"
W. Fourtner, Charles R. Fourtner, and Clyde F. Herreid, University
at Buffalo. State University of New York at Buffalo’s National
Center for Case Study Teaching
The ethics of human
experimentation are explored in this case about the infamous
syphilis studies performed at the Tuskegee Institute from the
1930s to the 1960s.
This case could be used in any
course that explores the ethics of science.
"Should Animal Experimentation
be Permitted??" Levine, Carol. Taking Sides: Science,
Technology, and Society, 6th AND 11th edition.
- YES: Mark Matfield summarizes the history of protests
against the use of animals in research and argues that the
research community needs to play a greater part in communicating
the benefits of animal use and the commitment of the researchers
themselves to protecting and regulating the welfare of
laboratory animals. (from "Animal Experimentation: The
Continuing Debate", Nature
Reviews, Drug Discovery, February 2002).
- NO: Research attorney Steven Zak maintains that current
animal protection laws do not adequately protect animals used in
medical and other research and that, for society to be virtuous,
it must recognize the rights of animals not to be sacrificed for
human needs. (from "Ethics and Animals", The Atlantic Monthly, March
"Is Sham Surgery Ethically Acceptable
in Clinical Research?" Levine, Carol. Taking Sides: Bioethical
Issues, eleventh edition.
- YES: Physician Thomas B. Freeman and his colleagues contend
that their study of fetal tissue transplantation, which used
imitation, or sham, surgery in one group of patients will
establish whether this treatment is beneficial or not.
Furthermore, this treatment will benefit thousands of patients
with Parkinson's Disease if proven effective. (from "Use of
Placebo Surgery in Controlled Trials of a Cellular-Based Therapy
for Parkinson's Disease", The New England Journal of Medicine,
September 23, 1999 ).
- NO: Philosopher Ruth Macklin concludes that sham surgery is
ethically unacceptable, particularly in the case of fetal tissue
transplantation, because it does not minimize harm to subjects,
a fundamental principle underlying research ethics. (from "The
Ethical Problems with Sham Surgery in Clinical Research", The
New England Journal of Medicine, September 23, 1999)
question cloning research". Elias, Paula. Post
University of Pittsburgh
researcher Gerald Schatten demands being taken off of a Science article that details creating stem
cell colonies for 11 patients through cloning. Another
author, Hwang Woo-suk is being questioned for the validity of the
article due to some ethical and data reporting issues. The
first event that brought the author under scrutiny was collecting
eggs from subordinate scientists, considered unethical.
Schatten maintains that the findings were valid. The
assertion that 11 stem cell colonies are growing must be false due
to the fact that each colony must come from a separate individual
but some of the colonies do not seem to be from unique
screening raises issues". Cheng, Maria. Post
Britain now allows couples
to screen embryos for genes that raise the risk for developing
cancer, called preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Critics
say that technology is moving forward faster than society's
ability to pace it. This new screening is different because,
unlike screening for cystic fibrosis, the genes do not mean that
cancer is imminent. Some are called for an international
consensus on screening.
Beyond Discovery: The Path from
Research to Human Benefit is a series of articles that trace the
origins of important recent technological and medical advances.
Each story reveals the crucial role played by basic science, the
applications of which could not have been anticipated at the time
the original research was conducted.