All posts by Anthony King

Anthony King is a freelance science writer based in Dublin, Ireland. He has contributed news and feature articles to the Irish Times, and science magazines such as New Scientist, Cosmos Magazine, Discover, Chemistry & Industry and Chemistry World, as well as journals such as Cell, Nature and Science. He writes primarily about the biological and chemical sciences, but also has an interest in policy.

Citizen journalism: A phenomenon that is here to stay

As the catastrophic fire blazed in Grenfell Tower, London in June 2017, everyone knew they would find photos or videos online, posted by citizens, on the scene before the professional journalists. Citizen journalists are now a common presence in the event of disasters, natural and man-made, but they represent a remarkably new phenomenon. This and other new media topics are the subject of discussions in Copenhagen at the 4th European Conference for Science Journalists. Read more [...]

The logic behind the Stop Vivisection campaign

An anti-vivisection citizen initiative has gathered over 1.2 milion signatures. Despite lengthy debates related to the Directive on the use of animal in research, anti-vivisection campaigner still oppose any use of animals in research. The initiators of the petition, who include some scientists, argue that animal studies cannot predict how humans respond to drugs or chemicals. The move has triggered a strong response from the science community. Yet, some anticipate there could be a better way of dealing with such issues involving greater citizen engagement. Read more [...]

Blowback – Spy scandal threatens European research

The Snowden fallout it far from being over. One of its consequences is the European Parliament’s text for upcoming Data Protection legislation. The draft proposal has resulted in some of the largest, most prestigious, non-commercial research organisations in Europe being up in arms. They warn that the EU is set to strangle health-saving research. In this feature article, EuroScientist investigates what could be the possible consequences, should the legislation does not make suitable exception to allow research of potential future societal value and privacy at all costs becomes the new rule. Read more [...]

When negative data fails patients by publication omission

Half of all clinical trials never see the light of day. There are regulations in Europe and the US; they are often ignored. But public pressure has begun to push the pharmaceutical industries to make trial data available. However, in a world where industry, clinicians and medical publishers are complicit in not having clinical trials published in full, it may be necessary to give ownership of clinical data back to patients to gain greater transparency and accountability. Read more [...]

Innovator travels convoluted path to therapy trial

Read about the challenges that Stephane Huberty, an entrepreneur who is also a medical doctor, since he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis (MG). This article accounts of the many meanders that he had to face on the path to bringing a disruptive innovation--a vaccine for MG--towards the market. This demonstrates that in innovation circles, there is no one-size-fits-all and that some innovations may not quite fit the existing innovation system as expected. Read more [...]

Clinical trials Eldorado based on quality, not cost

Central and Eastern Europe is proving very attractive to pharma and biotech companies for clinical trials. Highly motivated patients, well-qualified investigators, speed of trials and quality of data as well as lower costs are frequently listed attractions. All together, the population of Central and Eastern Europe represents greater number of people than that of either the United States or the five largest Western European markets combined. Besides, the region also offers a convenient location—at the heart of Europe—for drug and device industries to carry out clinical trials. This article explore in many details the many reasons that makes life science industry come back over and over again to these territories, which have gained their reputation through a combination of rigour, high education levels and historic legacy. Read more [...]

E-cigarettes in regulatory doldrums

The phenomenon of e-cigarette has caught regulators flat footed. The devices vaporise a solution, allowing vapers to inhale nicotine. Their popularity has surged and regulators are running to catch up. However, around the world countries are adopting different approaches as people begin to get into the vaping habit. What is certain is that they are proving controversial. And they have split tobacco-control community. Some see them as life savers, others as a pathway to normalisation and more tobacco use. Read more [...]

EuroScientist interview: View of Italian tobacco expert, Riccardo Polosa, on e-cigarettes policy

Riccardo Polossa heads up the Centre for Tobacco Research at University of Catania, Italy. He is the author of more than 250 peer reviewed articles and books, covering respiratory medicine, clinical immunology, and tobacco addiction. He is also the chief scientific advisor for Lega Italiana Anti Fumo (LIAF), the Italian Anti-Smoking League. As one of Europe’s top expert on e-cigarettes, he shares his views on the issues surrounding the regulation of such novel products. Read more [...]

Alternative modes of research funding: exceptions or growing trend?

Peer-review of projects dominates when it comes to decision on how to allocate funding for science. But is it really the best way? Funders certainly think so. Over 95% of biomedical funding in the UK, for example, relied on peer-review grant allocations, a 2012 report found. In the absence of tried and tested alternative, peer review has become the default solution. But there is a clear demand for new and less onerous ways of funding research. Read more [...]