The Sciences

Saints + Sinners: Fighting Cystic Fibrosis, Promoting Faulty Joints


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Saint: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation  Since scientists pinpointed the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis in 1989, the nonprofit group has recruited study participants and donated millions of dollars to develop gene-based treatments. In January the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Kalydeco, the first drug to treat people with a mutation of that gene. Kalydeco will help only about 4 percent of sufferers of the chronic lung disease, but its approval is an important step toward developing personalized medicines.

Sinner: Johnson & Johnson In 2009 the FDA cited numerous safety concerns in its rejection of an artificial hip implant manufactured by the health care giant. Now the company is under fire because it continued selling the flawed implant overseas for months after the FDA decision, ignoring widespread complaints of premature failure and faulty construction.

Saint: Jonathan Mayer 
In February the Stanford University computer scientist helped protect online privacy when he called out Google for monitoring activity on Apple’s Safari browser, presumably to collect information for targeted ads. Google quickly removed the deceptive code.

Sinner: Stephen Harper  Canadian scientists and journalists wrote an open letter of complaint to the country’s prime minister in February. Their beef: After government scientists publish major research, they are frequently restricted from speaking to the media.

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