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Structure of Scholarly Articles and Peer Review: Structure of a Biomedical Research Article

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Title, Authors, Sources of Support and Acknowledgments

Structured abstract, introduction, results and discussion, international committee of medical journal editors (icmje).

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Medical research articles tend to be structured in similar ways. This standard structure helps assure that research is reported with the information readers need to critically appraise the research process and results.

This guide to the structure of a biomedical research article was informed by the description of standard manuscript sections found in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations chapter on Manuscript Preparation: Preparing for Submission .

If you are writing an article for submisson to a particular journal be sure to obtain that journal's instructions for authors for specific guidelines.

Example Article: Lyons EJ, Tate DF, Ward DS, Wang X. Energy intake and expenditure during sedentary screen time and motion-controlled video gaming. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug;96(2):234-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.028423. Epub 2012 Jul 3. PubMed PMID: 22760571; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3396440. (Free full text available)

Article title:  Should provide a succinct description of the purpose of the article using words that will help it be accurately retrieved by search engines. 

biomedical research paper example

Author information:  Includes the author names and the institution(s) where each author was affiliated at the time the research was conducted. Full contact information is provided for the corresponding author. 

Source(s) of support: Specific information about grant funding or source of equipment, drugs, etc. obtained to support the research. 

biomedical research paper example

Acknowledgments:  This section may found at the end of the article and is used to name people who contributed to the paper, but not fully enough to be named as an author. It may also include more information about the authors' specific roles.

biomedical research paper example

The structure of quantitative research articles is derived from the scientifc process and includes sections covering introduction, methods, results, and discussion (IMRaD). The actual labels for the various parts may vary between journals.

Abstract:  A structured abstract reports a summary of each of the IMRaD sections. Enough information should be included to provide the purpose of the research; an outline of methods used; results with data; and conclusions that highlight the findings. 

biomedical research paper example

The introduction provides background information about what is known from previous related research, citing the relevant studies, and points out the gap in previous research that is being addressed by the new study. Often, many of the references cited in a paper are in the introduction. The purpose of the research should be clearly stated in this section.

The sample paper's introduction links television watching to increased energy intake and obesity, notes that several studies have shown a similar link with video gaming, and states no study was identified that compared television and video gaming. Eighteen of the thirty-one references used in the paper are cited in the introduction. The final paragraph of the introduction has two sentences that clearly state the purpose and the hypothesized expected outcome of the study.

The methods section clearly explains how the study was conducted. The ICMJE recommends that this section include information about how participants were selected, detailed demographics about who the participants were, and explanations of why any particular populations were included or excluded from the study. The details of how the study was conducted should be described with enough detail that the study could be replicated. Selected statistical methods should be reported in enough detail that readers can evaluate their appropriateness to the data being gathered.

The sample paper’s methods section includes subsections covering:  recruitment; procedures used for each study subgroup (TV, VG, motion-controlled VG); what snacks and beverages were used and how they were made available; how energy intake and energy expenditure were measured; how the data was analyzed and the specific statistical analysis and secondary analysis that was used.

The results section reports the data gathered and the statistical analysis of the data. Tables and / or graphs are often used to clearly and compactly present the data.

The results section of the sample paper  has two subsections and two tables. One subsection and related table shows the analysis of participant characteristics, The other subsection and table covers the analysis of energy intake, expenditure, and surplus.

In order to critically appraise the quality of the study you need to be able to understand the statistical analysis of the data. Two articles that help with this task are:

  • Greenhalgh Trisha.  How to read a paper: Statistics for the non-statistician. I: Different types of data need different statistical tests  BMJ 1997; 315:364
  • Greenhalgh Trisha.  How to read a paper: Statistics for the non-statistician. II: “Significant” relations and their pitfalls  BMJ 1997; 315:422

Another aid to critically reading a paper is to see if it has been included and evaluated in a systematic review. Try searching for the article you are reading in Google Scholar and seeing if the cited references include a systematic review. The sample paper was critically reviewed in:

  • Marsh S, Ni Mhurchu C, Maddison R. The non-advertising effects of screen-based sedentary activities on acute eating behaviours in children, adolescents, and young adults. A systematic review. Appetite. 2013 Dec;71:259-73. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.08.017. Epub 2013 Aug 31. PubMed Abstract . Full-text for UNC-CH .

The  discussion section  clearly states the primary findings of the study, poses explanations for the findings and any conclusions that can be drawn from them. It may also include the author’s assessment of limitations in the research as conducted and suggestions for further research that is needed.

The structure of biomedical research articles has been standardized across different journals at least in part due to the work of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. This group first published the  Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals  in 1978.

The  Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals  (2013) is the most recent update of ICMJE's work. 

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  • Last Updated: May 14, 2024 12:50 PM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.unc.edu/scholarly-articles

biomedical research paper example

Writing a Biomedical Research Paper

A Guide to Structure and Style

  • © 2009
  • Brian Stephen Budgell 0

Universitä du Quäbec à Trois-Riviäres, Trois-Riviäres, Canada

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  • Focuses very precisely on the biomedical research article. Biomedical language is quite different in many respects from general English and other scientific dialects, and so biomedical language deserves to be treated separately
  • Deals with research articles, the publications which biomedical scientists have to produce in order to keep their jobs
  • Derived largely from analyses of biomedical corpora. Hence, the advice offered is evidence-based rather than opinion-based, and is derived from examination of successful biomedical writing, i.e. that which has been published in peer-reviewed journals
  • Web-based resources are available for exercises
  • Includes supplementary material: sn.pub/extras

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Table of contents (13 chapters)

Front matter, beginning a manuscript, the title: your last chance to make a first impression, writing an eff ective introduction, ensuring the flow of discourse: conjunctions and conjuncts, hedging your bets and minding your modals, writing an eff ective methods section, the passive voice and i, writing an eff ective results section, the special case of case studies, writing an eff effctive discussion, is it a discussion or a systematic review, writing an eff ective abstract, the process of manuscript submission and review, back matter, authors and affiliations.

Brian Stephen Budgell

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Bibliographic information.

Book Title : Writing a Biomedical Research Paper

Book Subtitle : A Guide to Structure and Style

Authors : Brian Stephen Budgell

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-4-431-88037-0

Publisher : Springer Tokyo

eBook Packages : Medicine , Medicine (R0)

Copyright Information : Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2009

Softcover ISBN : 978-4-431-88036-3 Published: 08 January 2009

eBook ISBN : 978-4-431-88037-0 Published: 05 December 2008

Edition Number : 1

Number of Pages : VIII, 66

Topics : Medicine/Public Health, general , Biomedicine general

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The Principles of Biomedical Scientific Writing: Abstract and Keywords

Zahra bahadoran.

1 Nutrition and Endocrine Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Parvin Mirmiran

2 Department of Clinical Nutrition and Human Dietetics, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Khosrow Kashfi

3 Department of Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City University of New York School of Medicine, New York, United States

Asghar Ghasemi

4 Endocrine Physiology Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

An abstract is a self-contained, short, powerful statement that describes a larger body of work. It may be incorporated as part of a published paper, book, grant proposal, thesis, research report, or a conference paper. An abstract of a scientific paper will be published online independently, so it should make sense when it is read alone. An abstract of a hypothesis-testing paper consists of at least four key elements, as follows: (1) study question/hypothesis/aim, (2) experiments/material and methods, (3) results, and (4) response to the question/conclusion(s). The abstract usually begins with a background and may end in applications, recommendations, implications, or speculations. The abstract is one of the many features of a manuscript that competes for the readers’ attention; therefore, it should be informative, accurate, attractive, and concise. Since a huge amount of work must be compressed into a few sentences, writing an abstract may be a difficult task that needs professional skills. Here, we provide a practical guide to writing an abstract and selecting keywords for a hypothesis-testing medical paper.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word “abstract” is a combination of the Latin root ab-, a prefix meaning “from” or “away,” with the verb trahere, meaning “to pull” or “to draw” and thus, it means “to make a summary”. An abstract is a self-contained, short, powerful statement that describes a larger body of work ( 1 , 2 ). In scientific communications, an abstract is a tool used in a variety of contexts; it is an integral part of a published paper, book, funding proposal, thesis, research report, or a conference paper ( 3 ). In a scientific paper, the abstract is an accurate summary of the main aspects of the entire manuscript, usually in one paragraph of 150 - 300 words, using a simple, clear way of writing ( 4 ). An abstract is a truncated version of the paper that summarizes every aspect of the study ( 5 ).

The traditional form of an abstract first appeared in medical journals in the late 1950s as a descriptive paragraph at the beginning of the paper and then it became more popular ( 3 , 6 , 7 ). The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) was one of the early pioneers of this practice in the early 1960s. The journal editors believed that readers did not have enough time and interest to read every paper; thus, the abstract would allow them to assess the study without actually reading the whole paper ( 8 ).

The ability to write an informative, accurate, attractive, and concise abstract is a valuable skill for researchers and writing a good abstract requires a considerable amount of time, effort, practice, mentoring, and patience ( 2 , 3 ). The abstract plays a critical role in “selling” a paper to the prospective readers. A clear abstract can improve the paper search engine rankings and influence whether the user finds it and then decides to navigate to the main article ( 9 ). A well-written abstract represents a more clearly focused study, as well as the experience of the researchers ( 2 ). Despite its critical importance, the power and the role of abstracts on the pre- and post-publication success of papers are generally overlooked and they are usually written prematurely at submission time ( 10 , 11 ). A badly-written and poor-quality abstract will confuse or turn off the potential readers and may also lead database indexers to make indexing errors or omissions ( 11 ).

Following our previous reports on how to write the Introduction ( 12 ), Material and Methods ( 13 ), Results ( 14 ), Discussion ( 15 ), and Title ( 16 ) of a hypothesis-testing paper, here, we provide a practical guide into writing an abstract. An overview is presented on the function, content, and organization of the abstract in a hypothesis-testing paper.

2. The Function of the Abstract

An abstract has three main functions: (1) provides a summary of the paper, (2) “sells” the paper to the editors, reviewers, and potential readers, and (3) helps with the indexing of the paper, making it retrieval by various search engines. As its name suggests, an abstract selects or pulls out the highlights from each section of the paper ( 17 ). The abstract provides a clear summary of the main story for the readers ( 17 ) and helps them to understand the main arguments of the paper quite quickly ( 18 ). An abstract generally answers at least three critical questions including “Why this study was carried out?”, “What did the authors do and how?”, and “What was the main result and what was new compared to previous works?” ( 19 ).

An abstract may critically affect both pre- and post-publication processes of the paper ( 11 ). Journal editors always read the abstract before going through the paper to get an initial impression of the work; moreover, reviewers’ decision on whether they should review a paper or not is almost entirely based on the abstract ( 10 , 11 ). Although a bad abstract may not by own lead to the rejection of a paper, it does, nevertheless, pave the way for a negative response of the editor ( 11 ). The abstract motivates the readers to go through the main text as it is the main mechanism by which readers decide on whether they should obtain and read the full paper ( 4 ).

The abstract is also used for indexing purposes, as most databases enable readers to search abstracts and to have a quick retrieval that limits the extraneous items recalled by a “full-text” search ( 18 ). A poorly-written abstract may lead to indexing errors or make the paper inaccessible in a literature search ( 11 ).

3. Content of the Abstract

The abstract of a hypothesis-testing paper consists of four basic parts: (1) the study question/hypothesis/objective, (2) the experiments/methods conducted to answer the question, (3) the results of the study, and (4) the answer to the question ( 7 , 17 ). Furthermore, the abstract may start with some background information, which will put the current study into perspective ( 20 ). The abstract may, then, end in applications, implications, recommendations, or speculations based on the answer to the question ( 17 ). The basic elements of the abstract of a hypothesis-testing paper are listed in Table 1 .

3.1. Background (Introduction)

The background information should be brief and in harmony with that given in the introduction section of the paper ( 17 ). Similar to the introduction, the background starts with a general topic (what is known in the field) and knowledge gap or problem, and narrows down to a specific topic (study question/hypothesis) of the study ( 4 ) (for more details see ( 12 ). The beginning can be more interesting by creating stress, e.g., by making a statement followed by “however” or “but” and then “stating a problem”, “contradiction”, or “gap in knowledge” ( 7 ). Addressing the author’s previous work in the background section of the abstract makes it annoying ( 4 ).

3.2. Hypothesis/Question

Study question/hypothesis or objective is a clear statement of the main aim of the study and major hypothesis tested or research question posted ( 21 ). Without addressing the study question/hypothesis, the abstract is meaningless and lacks an anchor for understanding the methods or the results ( 22 ). For questions including both an independent variable (X) and a dependent variable (Y), the question should be stated clearly using a verb to relate the independent and dependent variables, e.g., to determine whether X causes Y ( 17 ). For questions with only a dependent variable, the specific aspect of the dependent variable studied must be stated ( 17 ).

3.3. Experiments/Materials and Methods

To address the materials and methods used, essential and more important details are enough to indicate “how the hypothesis was tested” ( 4 , 17 ), including design, setting, subjects/participants, interventions (if any), the main outcome (s) ( 7 , 21 ), and a brief description of statistical methods ( 4 ). The experimental approach or the study design, including both independent and dependent variables, is also needed ( 17 ). When authors address the study setting, they need to give general rather than specific information (e.g., instead of naming the center, they can give the geographical location if it is important) ( 21 ). Describing standard techniques such as ELISA, PCR, etc. should be avoided ( 4 ). If the methodology is unique or of interest, addressing the methodological aspects of the study may be appropriate ( 2 ).

3.4. Results

Not all results, but only the most pertinent (those answering the question) are presented in the abstract ( 4 , 17 ). The main findings should be presented, not as general and broad statements but as specific results/data and their statistical significance (absolute numbers, percentages, means, coefficients, ratios, P values, confidence intervals) ( 2 , 23 ). A common flaw in abstracts is the inclusion of P values without providing the data; P values alone are not useful ( 17 ). Giving a P value should be accompanied by the mean, standard deviation, and sample size ( 17 ). Provide percent change rather than actual values (e.g. mean and standard deviation) when a quantitative idea of the data is approached ( 4 , 17 ). To make the abstract more efficient, details of the experiment (e.g., duration of the study, dependent variables) may be included in the statements of the results ( 17 ). Referring to data that are presented later in the manuscript should be avoided ( 4 ).

The results presented in the abstract should be arranged in a logical order, including chronological order and importance order (most-to-least or least-to-most important) ( 17 ). In the most-to-least important order, the experimental results come first and the control results are presented last. Similarly, variables that have changed come before variables that did not change ( 17 ). Another logical order is that the details of the results be presented in the same order as the details in the study question ( 17 ); for example, if the question is “whether lesions of the nucleus tractus solitarius alter pulmonary artery pressure and pulmonary lymph flow without altering the systemic circulation”, so the results can be organized in the same order, first pulmonary artery pressure, next pulmonary lymph flow, and last systemic circulatory variables ( 17 ).

The study groups should be named clearly, e.g. intervention or controls. If baseline/pretreatment characteristics of the study participants are similar between the groups, there is no need to show all of them for each group; overall key median or mean values would suffice with a statement NS, i.e. non-significant ( 24 ).

3.5. Answer and Its Importance/Conclusion(s)

The answer to the question should be supported by data and must not go beyond the data presented ( 4 ). In this section, the authors need to state whether the hypothesis is accepted or rejected based on the data presented ( 4 ). The conclusions should be straightforward, brief, and specific to the study findings/observations ( 24 ). If word limit permits, the conclusion may begin with an opening statement such as “Our study showed …” or “Our results indicated…”. New and important aspects of the study or observations need to be emphasized ( 23 ). The answer should not be just a restatement of the results and no data should be presented here ( 4 ). To answer the question, use the same key-terms, point of view, and verb as in the question ( 17 ).

In the final sentence, state the importance of the work, e.g., if the conclusion (s) leads to change (s) in concept or the understanding of the field ( 4 ). This can be presented by stating the applications, recommendations, implications, or speculations that are based on the findings ( 17 ). Expressing the importance of the work should not be replaced with the answer to the question ( 17 ). Try to avoid any broad/general statements about the need for more research ( 2 ); instead, give explicit recommendations for further studies if warranted ( 15 ). Authors are advised to be specific and focused on their findings, do not overestimate the importance of them, and avoid broad claims and strong statements since even pioneering breakthrough studies require independent confirmation ( 24 ).

3.6. Others

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE, www.icmje.org) recommends that, if applicable, journals should include the clinical trial registration number at the end of the abstract ( 25 ). Furthermore, funding sources are also proposed to be listed separately after the abstract to facilitate proper display and indexing for search retrieval by MEDLINE ( 26 ).

It is suggested that abstracts do not include figures, tables, or citations to previous works ( 17 ). If authors are convinced that the abstract must include a reference to significant previous work, they should give the full reference because the abstract will stand alone in abstracting publications ( 27 ).

4. Organization of the Abstract

Similar to the text of the paper, an informative abstract is organized in the following order: background (if any), question, experiments, results, answer to the question, and importance of the work (by stating applications, recommendations, implications, or speculations) ( 17 ). Journals may favor an unstructured abstract, which is just a conventional abstract with running text; or they may prefer a more structured format that has distinct labeled sections ( 28 ). Historically, because almost all published papers did not provide any essential details in their abstracts, Ertl and Gazette in 1969 proposed that for all medical, clinical, and experimental papers, the important contents should be presented in a tabular format ( 29 ). After several revisions ( 30 , 31 ), “a more informative” abstract for articles of medical/clinical journals was defined with subheadings for background, objective, design, setting, participants, interventions (if any), outcomes, results, and conclusions ( 28 ). In 1993, ICMJE recommended the use of structured abstracts ( 23 ). The percentage of published papers in medical journals containing structured abstracts increased from 2.5% in 1992 to 20.3% in 2005 ( 32 ) and this number rose to more than 30% in 2010 ( 33 ).

Compared to the traditional format, structured abstracts provide more details, with clear headings for the main components of the abstract ( 30 , 31 , 34 ). This format also enables the readers to quickly judge about applicability and validity of the findings for clinical practice ( 30 ). Structured abstracts are also easier to search and more simple to read, and are generally welcomed by readers and authors ( 35 ). The structured abstract, however, has been criticized for its greater length and its imposed style and rigid uniformity that may inhibit author creativity and may bore the reader ( 27 ).

To organize a structured abstract, a factual standard reflecting the process of scientific discovery i.e. “Introduction-Methods-Results-Conclusions” is commonly recommended by medical journals (e.g. New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Archives of Internal Medicine, American Journal of Medicine) ( 36 , 37 ). Other patterns of subheadings are also recommended, e.g., the 8-heading format proposed by Haynes et al. ( 30 ); a more frequent non-IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) format ( 37 ) is also used by some journals (e.g., BMJ, Journal of American Medical Association, Annual Review of Medicine). The ICMJE does acknowledge that the format of structured abstracts may differ amongst journals ( 25 ). Many reporting guidelines now recommend specific abstract formats depending on the study design, such as systematic reviews and randomized trials ( 28 , 38 , 39 ).

5. Features of a Well-Written Abstract

The ICMJE recommends that the abstract should emphasize new and important aspects of the study or observations, and not overinterpret the findings ( 25 ). A good abstract is simple, specific, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, complete, and (preferably) structured ( 40 ). Since readers may never read further than the abstract, it should provide a general understanding of what was studied, how the study was done, what was found, and what conclusions were drawn. A well-written and informative abstract stands on its own, apart from the rest of the manuscript ( 4 , 17 ). It, however, should be consistent with the main text and exhibit the key message (s) of the paper ( 40 ). An important feature of a well-written abstract is the following of a consistent story or keeping continuity, defined as moving smoothly from the background information to the conclusion ( 17 ). Of course, a good abstract must be based on data already collected and analyzed. Reading abstracts from recent issues of the target journal may also provide some helpful hints ( 2 ). Some general tips to write an effective abstract are provided in Table 2 .

6. The Procedure for Writing an Effective Abstract

The abstract is written after completing all experiments and interpreting the data ( 4 ). Writing an abstract requires careful, logical, and clear thinking. To draft an abstract, a stepwise process needs to be followed ( 28 ). Planning, drafting, reviewing, peer-reviewing, editing, and packaging are proposed as essential steps of developing an abstract ( 2 , 41 ). Overall, the initial step is to consider the manuscript entirely and select key contents, weight the importance of each word, and iteratively polish the story ( 28 ). In drafting an abstract, a practical and efficient suggestion is to copy and paste from the main text. Thus, 2 - 3 key sentences can be selected each from the introduction, material and methods, and discussion (mainly the first or the concluding paragraph), and several sentences from the results (including statistical analysis) ( 28 ). Next, the obtained unfocused and disorganized text needs to be extensively edited by removing unnecessary details and extra words to provide coherence and a natural flow ( 28 ).

The first draft is proposed to be set aside for 1 - 2 days (a short resting period) and then, the authors need to edit it again; they can send it for peer review by an unbiased outsider (e.g., a colleague, advisor, other mentors) to give thoughtful, concise, and honest criticism of the work ( 2 ). After careful consideration of the comments, the authors can promote their work and prepare the final draft ( 2 ). The final step that needs to be considered is packaging, which is done by following the journal style and a final check for possible misspelled words, incorrect grammar, exceeding the word count, and failure to comply with size and font specifications ( 2 ).

7. Most Common Flaws and Mistakes in Writing an Abstract

Taking a look at the common mistakes and flaws of the published abstracts (extensively discussed elsewhere ( 11 , 17 )) is helpful to make an effective abstract. In brief, these weaknesses include omitting or vaguely stating the question, stating an application/implication instead of an answer, and substituting a descriptive abstract for a hypothesis-testing study ( 17 ). Missing important information, exceeding the word limits, providing extraneous information (e.g., literature findings around the topic), lacking appropriate organization, and overstating the data are other common mistakes that are generally seen in poorly written abstracts ( 11 ). Apart from content mistakes, there are also two other common mistakes that are generally made in writing an abstract for a scientific paper. These are formal aspects (e.g., the layout of the abstract, its structure and length) and linguistic-stylistic aspects (grammar and spelling, stylistics and punctuation) ( 42 ). The typical characteristics of a poorly-written abstract include not being self-sufficient, being like an introduction rather than a summary, containing irrelevant details, and not giving any background information ( 19 ). Other common flaws include misleading reporting, misleading interpretation and inadequate extrapolation of the results, using causal language, linguistic spin, inadequate statement of implications for clinical practice, and absence of negative results ( 43 ). Some common flaws and mistakes in writing an abstract are provided in Box 1 .

8. Abstract for a Scientific Meeting

The selection of presentations in scientific meetings is based on abstracts ( 4 ) and the main function of a meeting abstract is, therefore, to showcase the author’s valuable contribution and to highlight the work for attracting audiences ( 10 , 17 ). Writing a meeting abstract needs to follow the same guidelines as abstracts for papers, except that it is likely to include more details of the methods and to display data in a table or a graph ( 17 ). More details regarding writing an effective and informative abstract for a meeting are presented elsewhere ( 17 , 45 , 46 ).

9. Keywords

At the end of the abstract, 3 to 10 keywords or short phrases are usually provided that are used for cross-indexing so that various search engines can retrieve the paper. Keywords are proposed to be obtained through the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) list of Index Medicus ( 23 ). It is suggested that keywords be different from the words that are within the main title; however, they can be variants of the terms/phrases that are used in the title, the abstract, and the main text ( 40 ). Effective keywords are those that are familiar within the field and are specific to the paper (i.e., terms used more than twice in the text) ( 10 ). Listing very general terms as keywords is not recommended (e.g., protein or DNA) because they are not helpful ( 10 ). A practical guide to choosing effective keywords is to list the main related keywords and then, doing a search using the same words to verify whether they are effective in retrieving appropriate papers within the field of interest ( 10 ). Authors can also use the “MeSH on-demand” browser for selecting keywords (https://meshb.nlm.nih.gov/MeSHonDemand).

10. Conclusion

Overall, a well-written abstract should accurately summarize the main aspects of the full paper. It should be simple, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, stand-alone, complete, and preferably structured. The first impressions that an abstract makes may go a long way towards the decisions made by the editors and the reviewers of the paper. Also, the post-publication success of the paper, such as citation performance, is also affected by the abstract. The ability to make an informative and accurate abstract, including a concise and clear statement of the problem/gap of knowledge, the motivation behind the research, the study question/hypothesis, enough description of the experiments, novel results, and a captivating conclusion, is a critical skill with broad implications. Authors, therefore, need to follow available guidelines and journal’s guide for authors to arrange a strong and convincing abstract.

Authors' Contribution: Study concept and design: Zahra Bahadoran and Asghar Ghasemi; drafting of the manuscript: Zahra Bahadoran, Parvin Mirmiran, and Asghar Ghasemi; critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Khosrow Kashfi and Parvin Mirmiran.

Conflict of Interests: The authors have no conflict of interest.

Funding Support: This study was supported by the Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.

Biomedical Research Paper Topics

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100 Biomedical Research Paper Topics

Biomedical research is a vibrant field, with an extensive range of topics drawn from various sub-disciplines. It encompasses the study of biological processes, clinical medicine, and even technology and engineering applied to the domain of healthcare. Given the sheer breadth of this field, choosing a specific topic can sometimes be overwhelming. To help you navigate this rich landscape, here is a list of biomedical research paper topics, divided into ten categories, each with ten specific topics.

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1. Genetics and Genomics

  • Role of genetics in rare diseases
  • Advances in gene editing: CRISPR technology
  • Human genome project: findings and implications
  • Genetic basis of cancer
  • Personalized medicine through genomics
  • Epigenetic modifications and disease progression
  • Genomic data privacy and ethical implications
  • Role of genetics in mental health disorders
  • Prenatal genetic screening and ethical considerations
  • Gene therapy in rare genetic disorders

2. Bioengineering and Biotechnology

  • Tissue engineering in regenerative medicine
  • Bioprinting of organs: possibilities and challenges
  • Role of nanotechnology in targeted drug delivery
  • Biosensors in disease diagnosis
  • Bioinformatics in drug discovery
  • Development and application of biomaterials
  • Bioremediation and environmental cleanup
  • Biotechnology in agriculture and food production
  • Therapeutic applications of stem cells
  • Role of biotechnology in pandemic preparedness

3. Neuroscience and Neurology

  • Pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Advances in Parkinson’s disease research
  • Role of neuroimaging in mental health diagnosis
  • Understanding the brain-gut axis
  • Neurobiology of addiction
  • Role of neuroplasticity in recovery from brain injury
  • Sleep disorders and cognitive function
  • Brain-computer interfaces: possibilities and ethical issues
  • Neural correlates of consciousness
  • Epigenetic influence on neurodevelopmental disorders

4. Immunology

  • Immune response to COVID-19
  • Role of immunotherapy in cancer treatment
  • Autoimmune diseases: causes and treatments
  • Vaccination and herd immunity
  • The hygiene hypothesis and rising allergy prevalence
  • Role of gut microbiota in immune function
  • Immunosenescence and age-related diseases
  • Role of inflammation in chronic diseases
  • Advances in HIV/AIDS research
  • Immunology of transplantation

5. Cardiovascular Research

  • Advances in understanding and treating heart failure
  • Role of lifestyle factors in cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiovascular disease in women
  • Hypertension: causes and treatments
  • Pathophysiology of atherosclerosis
  • Role of inflammation in heart disease
  • Novel biomarkers for cardiovascular disease
  • Personalized medicine in cardiology
  • Advances in cardiac surgery
  • Pediatric cardiovascular diseases

6. Infectious Diseases

  • Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
  • Role of antiviral drugs in managing viral diseases
  • Antibiotic resistance: causes and solutions
  • Zoonotic diseases and public health
  • Role of vaccination in preventing infectious diseases
  • Infectious diseases in immunocompromised individuals
  • Role of genomic sequencing in tracking disease outbreaks
  • HIV/AIDS: prevention and treatment
  • Advances in malaria research
  • Tuberculosis: challenges in prevention and treatment

7. Aging Research

  • Biological mechanisms of aging
  • Impact of lifestyle on healthy aging
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Role of genetics in longevity
  • Aging and cognitive decline
  • Social aspects of aging
  • Advances in geriatric medicine
  • Aging and the immune system
  • Role of physical activity in aging
  • Aging and mental health

8. Endocrinology

  • Advances in diabetes research
  • Obesity: causes and health implications
  • Thyroid disorders: causes and treatments
  • Role of hormones in mental health
  • Endocrine disruptors and human health
  • Role of insulin in metabolic syndrome
  • Advances in treatment of endocrine disorders
  • Hormones and cardiovascular health
  • Reproductive endocrinology
  • Role of endocrinology in aging

9. Mental Health Research

  • Advances in understanding and treating depression
  • Impact of stress on mental health
  • Advances in understanding and treating schizophrenia
  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Mental health in the elderly
  • Impact of social media on mental health
  • Suicide prevention and mental health services
  • Role of psychotherapy in mental health
  • Mental health disparities

10. Oncology

  • Advances in cancer immunotherapy
  • Role of genomics in cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Lifestyle factors and cancer risk
  • Early detection and prevention of cancer
  • Advances in targeted cancer therapies
  • Role of radiation therapy in cancer treatment
  • Cancer disparities and social determinants of health
  • Pediatric oncology: challenges and advances
  • Role of stem cells in cancer
  • Cancer survivorship and quality of life

These biomedical research paper topics represent a wide array of studies within the field of biomedical research, providing a robust platform to delve into the intricacies of human health and disease. Each topic offers a unique opportunity to explore the remarkable advancements in biomedical research, contributing to the ongoing quest to enhance human health and wellbeing.

Choosing Biomedical Research Paper Topics

The selection of a suitable topic for your biomedical research paper is a critical initial step that will largely influence the course of your study. The right topic will not only engage your interest but will also be robust enough to contribute to the existing body of knowledge. Here are ten tips to guide you in choosing the best topic for your biomedical research paper.

  • Relevance to Your Coursework and Interests: Your topic should align with the courses you have taken or are currently enrolled in. Moreover, a topic that piques your interest will motivate you to delve deeper into research, resulting in a richer, more nuanced paper.
  • Feasibility: Consider the practicality of your proposed research. Do you have access to the necessary resources, including the literature, laboratories, or databases needed for your study? Ensure that your topic is one that you can manage given your resources and time constraints.
  • Novelty and Originality: While it is essential to ensure your topic aligns with your coursework and is feasible, strive to select a topic that brings a new perspective or fresh insight to your field. Originality enhances the contribution of your research to the broader academic community.
  • Scope: A well-defined topic helps maintain a clear focus during your research. Avoid choosing a topic too broad that it becomes unmanageable, or so narrow that it lacks depth. Balancing the scope of your research is key to a successful paper.
  • Future Career Goals: Consider how your chosen topic could align with or benefit your future career goals. A topic related to your future interests can provide an early start to your career, showcasing your knowledge in that particular field.
  • Available Supervision and Mentoring: If you’re in a setting where you have a mentor or supervisor, choose a topic that fits within their area of expertise. This choice will ensure you have the best possible guidance during your research process.
  • Ethical Considerations: Some topics may involve ethical considerations, particularly those involving human subjects, animals, or sensitive data. Make sure your topic is ethically sound and you’re prepared to address any related ethical considerations.
  • Potential Impact: Consider the potential impact of your research on the field of biomedical science. The best research often addresses a gap in the current knowledge or has the potential to bring about change in healthcare practices or policies.
  • Literature Gap: Literature review can help identify gaps in the existing body of knowledge. Choosing a topic that fills in these gaps can make your research more valuable and unique.
  • Flexibility: While it’s essential to start with a clear topic, remain open to slight shifts or changes as your research unfolds. Your research might reveal a different angle or a more exciting question within your chosen field, so stay flexible.

Remember, choosing a topic should be an iterative process, and your initial ideas will likely evolve as you conduct a preliminary literature review and discuss your thoughts with your mentors or peers. The ultimate goal is to choose a topic that you are passionate about, as this passion will drive your work and make the research process more enjoyable and fulfilling.

How to Write a Biomedical Research Paper

Writing a biomedical research paper can be a daunting task. However, with careful planning and strategic execution, the process can be more manageable and rewarding. Below are ten tips to help guide you through the process of writing a biomedical research paper.

  • Understand Your Assignment: Before you begin your research or writing, make sure you understand the requirements of your assignment. Know the expected length, due date, formatting style, and any specific sections or components you need to include.
  • Thorough Literature Review: A comprehensive literature review allows you to understand the current knowledge in your research area and identify gaps where your research can contribute. It will help you shape your research question and place your work in context.
  • Clearly Define Your Research Question: A well-defined research question guides your research and keeps your writing focused. It should be clear, specific, and concise, serving as the backbone of your study.
  • Prepare a Detailed Outline: An outline helps organize your thoughts and create a roadmap for your paper. It should include all the sections of your research paper, such as the introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion.
  • Follow the IMRaD Structure: Most biomedical research papers follow the IMRaD format—Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. This structure facilitates the orderly and logical presentation of your research.
  • Use Clear and Concise Language: Biomedical research papers should be written in a clear and concise manner to ensure the reader understands the research’s purpose, methods, and findings. Avoid unnecessary jargon and ensure that complex ideas are explained clearly.
  • Proper Citation and Reference: Always properly cite the sources of information you use in your paper. This not only provides credit where it’s due but also allows your readers to follow your line of research. Be sure to follow the citation style specified in your assignment.
  • Discuss the Implications: In your discussion, go beyond simply restating your findings. Discuss the implications of your results, how they relate to previous research, and how they contribute to the existing knowledge in the field.
  • Proofread and Edit: Never underestimate the importance of proofreading and editing. Checking for grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes, and clarity of language can enhance the readability of your paper.
  • Seek Feedback Before Final Submission: Before submitting your paper, seek feedback from peers, mentors, or supervisors. Fresh eyes can often spot unclear sections or errors that you may have missed.

Writing a biomedical research paper is a significant academic endeavor, but remember that every researcher started where you are right now. It’s a process that requires time, effort, and patience. Remember, the ultimate goal is not just to get a good grade but also to contribute to the vast body of biomedical knowledge.

iResearchNet’s Custom Writing Services

Navigating the process of writing a biomedical research paper can be complex and demanding. At iResearchNet, we understand these challenges and strive to offer a stress-free, seamless solution to support your academic journey. With our roster of highly skilled, degree-holding writers, we are committed to delivering top-quality, custom-written papers tailored specifically to your individual requirements and desired outcomes.

  • Expert Degree-Holding Writers: iResearchNet takes pride in our team of knowledgeable and experienced writers who hold advanced degrees in diverse fields. These writers are not only academic experts but are also keenly in tune with the complex landscape of biomedical research. This breadth and depth of expertise ensure that your paper benefits from a thorough understanding of the topic, resulting in a well-informed, academically credible document.
  • Custom Written Works: We appreciate the unique academic goals and distinct requirements of each student. That’s why iResearchNet specializes in providing custom-written papers. Our aim is to capture your individual academic voice and perspective, blending it with our professional acumen to create a paper that reflects your specific academic needs and aspirations.
  • In-Depth Research: Every paper that we produce is founded on the bedrock of extensive and in-depth research. Our writers are committed to exploring a wide range of credible and reputable sources to enrich your paper with diverse viewpoints and comprehensive information. This dedication to rigorous research ensures that your paper is not only thoroughly informed but also accurately referenced, adding to its academic integrity.
  • Custom Formatting: Academic institutions often require different formatting styles. Be it APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, or Harvard, our writers are adept at all these academic formatting styles. We strive to adhere strictly to your specified formatting style, contributing to the polished and professional presentation of your paper.
  • Top Quality: Quality is the cornerstone of our services at iResearchNet. We believe that each paper we craft should demonstrate a high standard of scholarship. Our writers dedicate their skills and effort to ensure every aspect of your paper, from clarity of language to depth of analysis and precision of information, reflects top-quality work.
  • Customized Solutions: Recognizing that each research paper brings a distinct set of challenges and requirements, we offer customized solutions. Our approach is to thoroughly understand your specific needs and shape our writing services accordingly. We ensure that every aspect of your paper, from its overarching structure to the smallest details, aligns with your expectations.
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biomedical research paper example

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Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers, 2e

Chapter 8:  Figures and Tables

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In Section II , The Text of the Biomedical Research Paper, we saw how to write each section of the text to tell a clear story. However, many readers do not read the text, or read only part of it. Instead these readers look at the figures and tables. Therefore it is important that the figures and tables are clear and tell the story of the paper.

Clear figures and tables result from careful design and from informative legends for figures and informative titles and footnotes for tables. Careful design is important because figures and tables are visual means of conveying information and therefore should have strong visual impact. Informative legends, titles, and footnotes are important to ensure that the topic of each figure and table is clear.

Figures and tables that tell the story of the paper result from designing the figures and tables to form a clear sequence that relates clearly to the text.

Chapter 8 presents guidelines for designing clear figures and tables, for writing informative legends for figures and informative titles and footnotes for tables, and for designing figures and tables to tell the story of the paper.

In scientific research papers, most figures are used in the Methods and Results sections, though figures can also be used in the Introduction and the Discussion. In Methods, the main use of figures is to clarify or amplify the methods. For example, figures can be used to show apparatus or anatomic relations. In Results, the main use of figures is to present evidence that supports the results. Figures present either primary evidence (for example, electron micrographs) or numerical data (in graphs).

Drawings and Diagrams

Drawings illustrate anatomy, apparatus, and other concrete things. Diagrams illustrate concepts such as flow systems. Drawings and diagrams can be either realistic or schematic ( Fig. 1 ).

A diagram drawn both realistically (left) and schematically (right). The schematic diagram is simpler, but the realistic diagram may have more impact for some readers. The drawing is black on white, and the labels are uppercase and lowercase letters in a vertical, uncrowded, sans serif typeface of medium weight.


For animals and apparatus, drawings are preferable to photographs, because drawings can eliminate unnecessary detail and emphasize important features ( Fig. 2 ).

Photograph (left) and drawing (right) of an apparatus for measuring intrapleural pressure. The drawing shows the apparatus more clearly and simply than the photograph does.


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Pivotal functions and impact of long con-coding RNAs on cellular processes and genome integrity

Recent advances in uncovering the mysteries of the human genome suggest that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are important regulatory components. Although lncRNAs are known to affect gene transcription, their m...

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Somatic PDGFRB activating variants promote smooth muscle cell phenotype modulation in intracranial fusiform aneurysm

The fusiform aneurysm is a nonsaccular dilatation affecting the entire vessel wall over a short distance. Although PDGFRB somatic variants have been identified in fusiform intracranial aneurysms, the molecular...

A G-quadruplex-binding platinum complex induces cancer mitochondrial dysfunction through dual-targeting mitochondrial and nuclear G4 enriched genome

G-quadruplex DNA (G4) is a non-canonical structure forming in guanine-rich regions, which play a vital role in cancer biology and are now being acknowledged in both nuclear and mitochondrial (mt) genome. Howev...

biomedical research paper example

Excess glucose alone depress young mesenchymal stromal/stem cell osteogenesis and mitochondria activity within hours/days via NAD + /SIRT1 axis

The impact of global overconsumption of simple sugars on bone health, which peaks in adolescence/early adulthood and correlates with osteoporosis (OP) and fracture risk decades, is unclear. Mesenchymal stromal...

Contribution of extracellular vesicles for the pathogenesis of retinal diseases: shedding light on blood-retinal barrier dysfunction

Retinal degenerative diseases, including diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), loom as threats to vision, causing detrimental effects on the structure and function of the retina...

Exploiting urine-derived induced pluripotent stem cells for advancing precision medicine in cell therapy, disease modeling, and drug testing

The field of regenerative medicine has witnessed remarkable advancements with the emergence of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from a variety of sources. Among these, urine-derived induced pluri...

Targeting cathepsin S promotes activation of OLF1-BDNF/TrkB axis to enhance cognitive function

Cathepsin S (CTSS) is a cysteine protease that played diverse roles in immunity, tumor metastasis, aging and other pathological alterations. At the cellular level, increased CTSS levels have been associated wi...

Campylobacter jejuni virulence factors: update on emerging issues and trends

Campylobacter jejuni is a very common cause of gastroenteritis, and is frequently transmitted to humans through contaminated food products or water. Importantly, C. jejuni infections have a range of short- and l...

Membrane lipid remodeling eradicates Helicobacter pylori by manipulating the cholesteryl 6'-acylglucoside biosynthesis

Helicobacter pylori , the main cause of various gastric diseases, infects approximately half of the human population. This pathogen is auxotrophic for cholesterol which it converts to various cholesteryl α-glucosi...

biomedical research paper example

Dengue virus pathogenesis and host molecular machineries

Dengue viruses (DENV) are positive-stranded RNA viruses belonging to the Flaviviridae family. DENV is the causative agent of dengue, the most rapidly spreading viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Each yea...

Targeting NLRP3 signaling reduces myocarditis-induced arrhythmogenesis and cardiac remodeling

Myocarditis substantially increases the risk of ventricular arrhythmia. Approximately 30% of all ventricular arrhythmia cases in patients with myocarditis originate from the right ventricular outflow tract (RV...

T cell expressions of aberrant gene signatures and Co-inhibitory receptors (Co-IRs) as predictors of renal damage and lupus disease activity

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is distinguished by an extensive range of clinical heterogeneity with unpredictable disease flares and organ damage. This research investigates the potential of aberrant sign...

Applications of peptides in nanosystems for diagnosing and managing bacterial sepsis

Sepsis represents a critical medical condition stemming from an imbalanced host immune response to infections, which is linked to a significant burden of disease. Despite substantial efforts in laboratory and ...

biomedical research paper example

Enhancement of NETosis by ACE2-cross-reactive anti-SARS-CoV-2 RBD antibodies in patients with COVID-19

High levels of neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation or NETosis and autoantibodies are related to poor prognosis and disease severity of COVID-19 patients. Human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) ...

Attenuating mitochondrial dysfunction and morphological disruption with PT320 delays dopamine degeneration in MitoPark mice

Mitochondria are essential organelles involved in cellular energy production. Changes in mitochondrial function can lead to dysfunction and cell death in aging and age-related disorders. Recent research sugges...

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Longitudinal alterations in brain perfusion and vascular reactivity in the zQ175DN mouse model of Huntington’s disease

Huntington’s disease (HD) is marked by a CAG-repeat expansion in the huntingtin gene that causes neuronal dysfunction and loss, affecting mainly the striatum and the cortex. Alterations in the neurovascular co...

Antimicrobial peptide thanatin fused endolysin PA90 (Tha-PA90) for the control of Acinetobacter baumannii infection in mouse model

This study addresses the urgent need for infection control agents driven by the rise of drug-resistant pathogens such as Acinetobacter baumannii . Our primary aim was to develop and assess a novel endolysin, Tha-P...

Correction: A novel HIF1α-STIL-FOXM1 axis regulates tumor metastasis

The original article was published in Journal of Biomedical Science 2022 29 :24

Significance of hepatitis B virus capsid dephosphorylation via polymerase

It is generally believed that hepatitis B virus (HBV) core protein (HBc) dephosphorylation (de-P) is important for viral DNA synthesis and virion secretion. HBV polymerase contains four domains for terminal pr...

Association of TRAIL receptor with phosphatase SHP-1 enables repressing T cell receptor signaling and T cell activation through inactivating Lck

T cell receptor (TCR) signaling and T cell activation are tightly regulated by gatekeepers to maintain immune tolerance and avoid autoimmunity. The TRAIL receptor (TRAIL-R) is a TNF-family death receptor that ...

Improving CRISPR–Cas9 directed faithful transgene integration outcomes by reducing unwanted random DNA integration

The field of genome editing has been revolutionized by the development of an easily programmable editing tool, the CRISPR–Cas9. Despite its promise, off-target activity of Cas9 posed a great disadvantage for g...

A matter of new life and cell death: programmed cell death in the mammalian ovary

The mammalian ovary is a unique organ that displays a distinctive feature of cyclic changes throughout the entire reproductive period. The estrous/menstrual cycles are associated with drastic functional and mo...

Engineered extracellular vesicles carrying let-7a-5p for alleviating inflammation in acute lung injury

Acute lung injury (ALI) is a life-threatening respiratory condition characterized by severe inflammation and lung tissue damage, frequently causing rapid respiratory failure and long-term complications. The mi...

The rise of big data: deep sequencing-driven computational methods are transforming the landscape of synthetic antibody design

Synthetic antibodies (Abs) represent a category of artificial proteins capable of closely emulating the functions of natural Abs. Their in vitro production eliminates the need for an immunological response, st...

Tick-borne encephalitis virus transmitted singly and in duo with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and Anaplasma phagocytophilum bacteria by ticks as pathogens modifying lipid metabolism in human blood

Ticks are vectors of various pathogens, including tick-borne encephalitis virus causing TBE and bacteria such as Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and Anaplasma phagocytophilum causing e.g. viral-bacterial co-infec...

Integration of transcription regulation and functional genomic data reveals lncRNA SNHG6’s role in hematopoietic differentiation and leukemia

Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are pivotal players in cellular processes, and their unique cell-type specific expression patterns render them attractive biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Yet, the functional ...

Reduced interleukin-18 secretion by human monocytic cells in response to infections with hyper-virulent Streptococcus pyogenes

Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus, GAS) causes a variety of diseases ranging from mild superficial infections of the throat and skin to severe invasive infections, such as necrotizing soft tissue infe...

Metabolism-regulating non-coding RNAs in breast cancer: roles, mechanisms and clinical applications

Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies that pose a serious threat to women's health. Reprogramming of energy metabolism is a major feature of the malignant transformation of breast cancer. Compar...

Genetic and pharmacologic p32-inhibition rescue CHCHD2-linked Parkinson’s disease phenotypes in vivo and in cell models

Mutations in CHCHD2 have been linked to Parkinson’s disease, however, their exact pathophysiologic roles are unclear. The p32 protein has been suggested to interact with CHCHD2, however, the physiological functio...

The role of pregnancy associated plasma protein-A in triple negative breast cancer: a promising target for achieving clinical benefits

Pregnancy associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) plays an integral role in breast cancer (BC), especially triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). This subtype accounts for the most aggressive BC, possesses high tu...

Translational research on drug development and biomarker discovery for hepatocellular carcinoma

Translational research plays a key role in drug development and biomarker discovery for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, unique challenges exist in this field because of the limited availability of hum...

Germline mutations of homologous recombination genes and clinical outcomes in pancreatic cancer: a multicenter study in Taiwan

Cancer susceptibility germline mutations are associated with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, the hereditary status of PDAC and its impact on survival is largely unknown in the Asian population.

Rab37 mediates trafficking and membrane presentation of PD-1 to sustain T cell exhaustion in lung cancer

Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) is an immune checkpoint receptor expressed on the surface of T cells. High expression of PD-1 leads to T-cell dysfunction in the tumor microenvironment (TME). However, th...

FLT3L-induced virtual memory CD8 T cells engage the immune system against tumors

Previous research in FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligands (FLT3L) has primarily focused on their potential to generate dendritic cells (DCs) from bone marrow progenitors, with a limited understanding of how thes...

Promising antibacterial efficacy of arenicin peptides against the emerging opportunistic pathogen Mycobacterium abscessus

Mycobacterium abscessus , a fast-growing non-tuberculous mycobacterium, is an emerging opportunistic pathogen responsible for chronic bronchopulmonary infections in people with respiratory diseases such as cystic ...

Targeting MDM2 in malignancies is a promising strategy for overcoming resistance to anticancer immunotherapy

MDM2 has been established as a biomarker indicating poor prognosis for individuals undergoing immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) treatment for different malignancies by various pancancer studies. Specifically, ...

Mechanisms and functions of SUMOylation in health and disease: a review focusing on immune cells

SUMOylation, which is a type of post-translational modification that involves covalent conjugation of small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) proteins to target substrates, regulates various important molecular a...

Hesperetin activates CISD2 to attenuate senescence in human keratinocytes from an older person and rejuvenates naturally aged skin in mice

CDGSH iron-sulfur domain-containing protein 2 (CISD2), a pro-longevity gene, mediates healthspan in mammals. CISD2 is down-regulated during aging. Furthermore, a persistently high level of CISD2 promotes longe...

Plectin plays a role in the migration and volume regulation of astrocytes: a potential biomarker of glioblastoma

The expression of aquaporin 4 (AQP4) and intermediate filament (IF) proteins is altered in malignant glioblastoma (GBM), yet the expression of the major IF-based cytolinker, plectin (PLEC), and its contributio...

Modelling the complex nature of the tumor microenvironment: 3D tumor spheroids as an evolving tool

Cancer remains a serious burden in society and while the pace in the development of novel and more effective therapeutics is increasing, testing platforms that faithfully mimic the tumor microenvironment are l...

TEM1/endosialin/CD248 promotes pathologic scarring and TGF-β activity through its receptor stability in dermal fibroblasts

Pathologic scars, including keloids and hypertrophic scars, represent a common form of exaggerated cutaneous scarring that is difficult to prevent or treat effectively. Additionally, the pathobiology of pathol...

Physiology and pharmacological targeting of phase separation

Liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) in biology describes a process by which proteins form membraneless condensates within a cellular compartment when conditions are met, including the concentration and postt...

Inactivation of pentraxin 3 suppresses M2-like macrophage activity and immunosuppression in colon cancer

The tumor microenvironment is characterized by inflammation-like and immunosuppression situations. Although cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are among the major stromal cell types in various solid cancers,...

Engineered EVs with pathogen proteins: promising vaccine alternatives to LNP-mRNA vaccines

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are tiny, lipid membrane-bound structures that are released by most cells. They play a vital role in facilitating intercellular communication by delivering bioactive cargoes to rec...

Attenuation of neurovirulence of chikungunya virus by a single amino acid mutation in viral E2 envelope protein

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has reemerged as a major public health concern, causing chikungunya fever with increasing cases and neurological complications.

Scaffold-based 3D cell culture models in cancer research

Three-dimensional (3D) cell cultures have emerged as valuable tools in cancer research, offering significant advantages over traditional two-dimensional (2D) cell culture systems. In 3D cell cultures, cancer c...

biomedical research paper example

Therapeutic antibodies for the prevention and treatment of cancer

The developments of antibodies for cancer therapeutics have made remarkable success in recent years. There are multiple factors contributing to the success of the biological molecule including origin of the an...

Immune evasion in cell-based immunotherapy: unraveling challenges and novel strategies

Cell-based immunotherapies (CBIs), notably exemplified by chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered T (CAR-T) cell therapy, have emerged as groundbreaking approaches for cancer therapy. Nevertheless, akin to ...

Exploring the relationship between metabolism and immune microenvironment in osteosarcoma based on metabolic pathways

Metabolic remodeling and changes in tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) in osteosarcoma are important factors affecting prognosis and treatment. However, the relationship between metabolism and TIME needs to ...

The synergism of cytosolic acidosis and reduced NAD + /NADH ratio is responsible for lactic acidosis-induced vascular smooth muscle cell impairment in sepsis

During sepsis, serve vascular dysfunctions lead to life-threatening multiple organ failure, due to vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) impairments, resulting in vasoplegia, hypotension and hypoperfusion. In ad...

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Journal of Biomedical Science is supported by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) , Taiwan.

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Still no pill for men? Double standards & demarcating values in biomedical research

Biomedical research policy, computational methods for single-cell imaging and omics data integration.

Integrating single cell omics and single cell imaging allows for a more effective characterisation of the underlying mechanisms that drive a phenotype at the tissue level, creating a comprehensive profile at the cellular level. Although the use of imaging data is well established in biomedical research, its primary application has been to observe phenotypes at the tissue or organ level, often using medical imaging techniques such as MRI, CT, and PET. These imaging technologies complement omics-based data in biomedical research because they are helpful for identifying associations between genotype and phenotype, along with functional changes occurring at the tissue level. Single cell imaging can act as an intermediary between these levels. Meanwhile new technologies continue to arrive that can be used to interrogate the genome of single cells and its related omics datasets. As these two areas, single cell imaging and single cell omics, each advance independently with the development of novel techniques, the opportunity to integrate these data types becomes more and more attractive. This review outlines some of the technologies and methods currently available for generating, processing, and analysing single-cell omics- and imaging data, and how they could be integrated to further our understanding of complex biological phenomena like ageing. We include an emphasis on machine learning algorithms because of their ability to identify complex patterns in large multidimensional data.

EZ Clear for simple, rapid, and robust mouse whole organ clearing

Tissue clearing for whole organ cell profiling has revolutionized biology and imaging for exploration of organs in three-dimensional space without compromising tissue architecture. But complicated, laborious procedures, or expensive equipment, as well as the use of hazardous, organic solvents prevents the widespread adoption of these methods. Here we report a simple and rapid tissue clearing method, EZ Clear, that can clear whole adult mouse organs in 48 hours in just three simple steps. Samples stay at room temperature and remain hydrated throughout the clearing process, preserving endogenous and synthetic fluorescence, without altering sample size. After wholemount clearing and imaging, EZ Cleared samples can be further processed for downstream embedding and cryosectioning followed by standard histology or immunostaining, without loss of endogenous or synthetic fluorescence signal. Overall, the simplicity, speed, and flexibility of EZ Clear make it easy to adopt and apply to diverse approaches in biomedical research.

Regenerative Neurology and Regenerative Cardiology: Shared Hurdles and Achievements

From the first success in cultivation of cells in vitro, it became clear that developing cell and/or tissue specific cultures would open a myriad of new opportunities for medical research. Expertise in various in vitro models has been developing over decades, so nowadays we benefit from highly specific in vitro systems imitating every organ of the human body. Moreover, obtaining sufficient number of standardized cells allows for cell transplantation approach with the goal of improving the regeneration of injured/disease affected tissue. However, different cell types bring different needs and place various types of hurdles on the path of regenerative neurology and regenerative cardiology. In this review, written by European experts gathered in Cost European action dedicated to neurology and cardiology-Bioneca, we present the experience acquired by working on two rather different organs: the brain and the heart. When taken into account that diseases of these two organs, mostly ischemic in their nature (stroke and heart infarction), bring by far the largest burden of the medical systems around Europe, it is not surprising that in vitro models of nervous and heart muscle tissue were in the focus of biomedical research in the last decades. In this review we describe and discuss hurdles which still impair further progress of regenerative neurology and cardiology and we detect those ones which are common to both fields and some, which are field-specific. With the goal to elucidate strategies which might be shared between regenerative neurology and cardiology we discuss methodological solutions which can help each of the fields to accelerate their development.

The blooming of long-read sequencing reforms biomedical research

Review of authorship for covid‐19 research conducted during the 2020 first‐wave epidemic in africa reveals emergence of promising african biomedical research and persisting asymmetry of international collaborations, role of igf2 in the study of development and evolution of prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer (PC) is commonly known as one of the most frequent tumors among males. A significant problem of this tumor is that in early stages most of the cases course as indolent forms, so an active surveillance will anticipate the appearance of aggressive stages. One of the main strategies in medical and biomedical research is to find non-invasive biomarkers for improving monitoring and performing a more precise follow-up of diseases like PC. Here we report the relevant role of IGF2 and miR-93-5p as non-invasive biomarker for PC. This event could improve current medical strategies in PC.

Animal models and their substitutes in biomedical research

Alternative models in biomedical research: in silico, in vitro, ex vivo, and nontraditional in vivo approaches, export citation format, share document.

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IDH1 mutation produces R-2-hydroxyglutarate (R-2HG) and induces mir-182-5p expression to regulate cell cycle and tumor formation in glioma

Mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 ( IDH1 and IDH2 ), are present in most gliomas. IDH1 mutation is an important prognostic marker in glioma. However, its regulatory mechanism in glioma remains incomplet...

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Therapeutic potential of oleic acid supplementation in myotonic dystrophy muscle cell models

We recently reported that upregulation of Musashi 2 (MSI2) protein in the rare neuromuscular disease myotonic dystrophy type 1 contributes to the hyperactivation of the muscle catabolic processes autophagy and...

Dorsal root ganglion-derived exosomes deteriorate neuropathic pain by activating microglia via the microRNA-16-5p/HECTD1/HSP90 axis

The activated microglia have been reported as pillar factors in neuropathic pain (NP) pathology, but the molecules driving pain-inducible microglial activation require further exploration. In this study, we in...

MicroRNA-721 regulates gluconeogenesis via KDM2A-mediated epigenetic modulation in diet-induced insulin resistance in C57BL/6J mice

Aberrant gluconeogenesis is considered among primary drivers of hyperglycemia under insulin resistant conditions, with multiple studies pointing towards epigenetic dysregulation. Here we examine the role of mi...

biomedical research paper example

Combined transcriptomics and proteomics unveil the impact of vitamin C in modulating specific protein abundance in the mouse liver

Vitamin C (ascorbate) is a water-soluble antioxidant and an important cofactor for various biosynthetic and regulatory enzymes. Mice can synthesize vitamin C thanks to the key enzyme gulonolactone oxidase (Gul...

Novel role of LLGL2 silencing in autophagy: reversing epithelial-mesenchymal transition in prostate cancer

Prostate cancer (PCa) is a major urological disease that is associated with significant morbidity and mortality in men. LLGL2 is the mammalian homolog of Lgl. It acts as a tumor suppressor in breast and hepati...

Rapid development and mass production of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing chicken egg yolk antibodies with protective efficacy in hamsters

Despite the record speed of developing vaccines and therapeutics against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it is not a given that such success can be secured in future pandemics. In addition, COVID-19 vaccination and appl...

High-fat diet, microbiome-gut-brain axis signaling, and anxiety-like behavior in male rats

Obesity, associated with the intake of a high-fat diet (HFD), and anxiety are common among those living in modern urban societies. Recent studies suggest a role of microbiome-gut-brain axis signaling, includin...

General regulatory factors exert differential effects on nucleosome sliding activity of the ISW1a complex

Chromatin dynamics is deeply involved in processes that require access to DNA, such as transcriptional regulation. Among the factors involved in chromatin dynamics at gene regulatory regions are general regula...

Establishment of primary prostate epithelial and tumorigenic cell lines using a non-viral immortalization approach

Research on prostate cancer is mostly performed using cell lines derived from metastatic disease, not reflecting stages of tumor initiation or early progression. Establishment of cancer cell lines derived from...

The effect of diabetes mellitus on differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into insulin-producing cells

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a global epidemic with increasing incidences. DM is a metabolic disease associated with chronic hyperglycemia. Aside from conventional treatments, there is no clinically approved cure...

biomedical research paper example

Control of astrocytic Ca 2+ signaling by nitric oxide-dependent S-nitrosylation of Ca 2+ homeostasis modulator 1 channels

Astrocytes Ca 2+ signaling play a central role in the modulation of neuronal function. Activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR) by glutamate released during an increase in synaptic activity triggers ...

Increased levels and activation of the IL-17 receptor in microglia contribute to enhanced neuroinflammation in cerebellum of hyperammonemic rats

Patients with liver cirrhosis may show minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) with mild cognitive impairment and motor incoordination. Rats with chronic hyperammonemia reproduce these alterations. Motor incoordi...

Identification and expression analysis of two steamer-like retrotransposons in the Chilean blue mussel ( Mytilus chilensis )

Disseminated neoplasia (DN) is a proliferative cell disorder of the circulatory system of bivalve mollusks. The disease is transmitted between individuals and can also be induced by external chemical agents su...

Noncoding RNAs in skeletal development and disorders

Protein-encoding genes only constitute less than 2% of total human genomic sequences, and 98% of genetic information was previously referred to as “junk DNA”. Meanwhile, non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) consist of app...

Cx43 hemichannels and panx1 channels contribute to ethanol-induced astrocyte dysfunction and damage

Alcohol, a widely abused drug, significantly diminishes life quality, causing chronic diseases and psychiatric issues, with severe health, societal, and economic repercussions. Previously, we demonstrated that...

Galectins in epithelial-mesenchymal transition: roles and mechanisms contributing to tissue repair, fibrosis and cancer metastasis

Galectins are soluble glycan-binding proteins that interact with a wide range of glycoproteins and glycolipids and modulate a broad spectrum of physiological and pathological processes. The expression and subc...

Glutaminolysis regulates endometrial fibrosis in intrauterine adhesion via modulating mitochondrial function

Endometrial fibrosis, a significant characteristic of intrauterine adhesion (IUA), is caused by the excessive differentiation and activation of endometrial stromal cells (ESCs). Glutaminolysis is the metabolic...

The long-chain flavodoxin FldX1 improves the biodegradation of 4-hydroxyphenylacetate and 3-hydroxyphenylacetate and counteracts the oxidative stress associated to aromatic catabolism in Paraburkholderia xenovorans

Bacterial aromatic degradation may cause oxidative stress. The long-chain flavodoxin FldX1 of Paraburkholderia xenovorans LB400 counteracts reactive oxygen species (ROS). The aim of this study was to evaluate the...

MicroRNA-148b secreted by bovine oviductal extracellular vesicles enhance embryo quality through BPM/TGF-beta pathway

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their cargoes, including MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a crucial role in cell-to-cell communication. We previously demonstrated the upregulation of bta-mir-148b in EVs from oviductal...

YME1L-mediated mitophagy protects renal tubular cells against cellular senescence under diabetic conditions

The senescence of renal tubular epithelial cells (RTECs) is crucial in the progression of diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Accumulating evidence suggests a close association between insufficient mitophagy and RT...

Effects of latroeggtoxin-VI on dopamine and α-synuclein in PC12 cells and the implications for Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by death of dopaminergic neurons leading to dopamine deficiency, excessive α-synuclein facilitating Lewy body formation, etc. Latroeggtoxin-VI (LETX-VI), a proteinaceo...

Glial-restricted progenitor cells: a cure for diseased brain?

The central nervous system (CNS) is home to neuronal and glial cells. Traditionally, glia was disregarded as just the structural support across the brain and spinal cord, in striking contrast to neurons, alway...

Carbapenem-resistant hypervirulent ST23 Klebsiella pneumoniae with a highly transmissible dual-carbapenemase plasmid in Chile

The convergence of hypervirulence and carbapenem resistance in the bacterial pathogen Klebsiella pneumoniae represents a critical global health concern. Hypervirulent K. pneumoniae (hvKp) strains, frequently from...

Endometrial mesenchymal stromal/stem cells improve regeneration of injured endometrium in mice

The monthly regeneration of human endometrial tissue is maintained by the presence of human endometrial mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (eMSC), a cell population co-expressing the perivascular markers CD140b an...

Embryo development is impaired by sperm mitochondrial-derived ROS

Basal energetic metabolism in sperm, particularly oxidative phosphorylation, is known to condition not only their oocyte fertilising ability, but also the subsequent embryo development. While the molecular pat...

Fibroblasts inhibit osteogenesis by regulating nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling of YAP in mesenchymal stem cells and secreting DKK1

Fibrous scars frequently form at the sites of bone nonunion when attempts to repair bone fractures have failed. However, the detailed mechanism by which fibroblasts, which are the main components of fibrous sc...

MSC-derived exosomes protect auditory hair cells from neomycin-induced damage via autophagy regulation

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) poses a major threat to both physical and mental health; however, there is still a lack of effective drugs to treat the disease. Recently, novel biological therapies, such as ...

Alpha-synuclein dynamics bridge Type-I Interferon response and SARS-CoV-2 replication in peripheral cells

Increasing evidence suggests a double-faceted role of alpha-synuclein (α-syn) following infection by a variety of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Although α-syn accumulation is known to contribute to cell toxic...

Lactadherin immunoblockade in small extracellular vesicles inhibits sEV-mediated increase of pro-metastatic capacities

Tumor-derived small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) can promote tumorigenic and metastatic capacities in less aggressive recipient cells mainly through the biomolecules in their cargo. However, despite recent ad...

Integration of ATAC-seq and RNA-seq identifies MX1-mediated AP-1 transcriptional regulation as a therapeutic target for Down syndrome

Growing evidence has suggested that Type I Interferon (I-IFN) plays a potential role in the pathogenesis of Down Syndrome (DS). This work investigates the underlying function of MX1, an effector gene of I-IFN,...

The novel roles of YULINK in the migration, proliferation and glycolysis of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells: implications for pulmonary arterial hypertension

Abnormal remodeling of the pulmonary vasculature, characterized by the proliferation and migration of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) along with dysregulated glycolysis, is a pathognomonic feat...

Electroacupuncture promotes neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus and improves pattern separation in an early Alzheimer's disease mouse model

Impaired pattern separation occurs in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) neurogenesis participates in pattern separation. Here, we investigated whether spatial memo...

Role of SYVN1 in the control of airway remodeling in asthma protection by promoting SIRT2 ubiquitination and degradation

Asthma is a heterogenous disease that characterized by airway remodeling. SYVN1 (Synoviolin 1) acts as an E3 ligase to mediate the suppression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress through ubiquitination and de...

Advances towards the use of gastrointestinal tumor patient-derived organoids as a therapeutic decision-making tool

In December 2022 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed the requirement that drugs in development must undergo animal testing before clinical evaluation, a declaration that now demands the establish...

Melatonin alleviates pyroptosis by regulating the SIRT3/FOXO3α/ROS axis and interacting with apoptosis in Atherosclerosis progression

Atherosclerosis (AS), a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease (CVD), is steadily rising with the aging of the global population. Pyroptosis and apoptosis, both caspase-mediated cell death mechanism...

Prenatal ethanol exposure and changes in fetal neuroendocrine metabolic programming

Prenatal ethanol exposure (PEE) (mainly through maternal alcohol consumption) has become widespread. However, studies suggest that it can cause intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and multi-organ developmen...

Autologous non-invasively derived stem cells mitochondria transfer shows therapeutic advantages in human embryo quality rescue

The decline in the quantity and quality of mitochondria are closely associated with infertility, particularly in advanced maternal age. Transferring autologous mitochondria into the oocytes of infertile female...

Development of synthetic modulator enabling long-term propagation and neurogenesis of human embryonic stem cell-derived neural progenitor cells

Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) are essential for in vitro drug screening and cell-based therapies for brain-related disorders, necessitating well-defined and reproducible culture systems. Current strategies em...

Heat-responsive microRNAs participate in regulating the pollen fertility stability of CMS-D2 restorer line under high-temperature stress

Anther development and pollen fertility of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) conditioned by Gossypium harknessii cytoplasm (CMS-D2) restorer lines are susceptible to continuous high-temperature (HT) stress in sum...

Chemogenetic inhibition of NTS astrocytes normalizes cardiac autonomic control and ameliorate hypertension during chronic intermittent hypoxia

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by recurrent episodes of chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH), which has been linked to the development of sympathoexcitation and hypertension. Furthermore, it has ...

SARS-CoV-2 spike protein S1 activates Cx43 hemichannels and disturbs intracellular Ca 2+ dynamics

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). An aspect of high uncertainty is whether the SARS-CoV-2 per se or the systemic inflammation ...

The effect of zofenopril on the cardiovascular system of spontaneously hypertensive rats treated with the ACE2 inhibitor MLN-4760

Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) plays a crucial role in the infection cycle of SARS-CoV-2 responsible for formation of COVID-19 pandemic. In the cardiovascular system, the virus enters the cells by bind...

Two murine models of sepsis: immunopathological differences between the sexes—possible role of TGFβ1 in female resistance to endotoxemia

Endotoxic shock (ExSh) and cecal ligature and puncture (CLP) are models that induce sepsis. In this work, we investigated early immunologic and histopathologic changes induced by ExSh or CLP models in female a...

An intracellular, non-oxidative factor activates in vitro chromatin fragmentation in pig sperm

In vitro incubation of epididymal and vas deferens sperm with Mn 2+ induces Sperm Chromatin Fragmentation (SCF), a mechanism that causes double-stranded breaks in toroid-linker regions (TLRs). Whether this mechani...

Focal ischemic stroke modifies microglia-derived exosomal miRNAs: potential role of mir-212-5p in neuronal protection and functional recovery

Ischemic stroke is a severe type of stroke with high disability and mortality rates. In recent years, microglial exosome-derived miRNAs have been shown to be promising candidates for the treatment of ischemic ...

S -Nitrosylation in endothelial cells contributes to tumor cell adhesion and extravasation during breast cancer metastasis

Nitric oxide is produced by different nitric oxide synthases isoforms. NO activates two signaling pathways, one dependent on soluble guanylate cyclase and protein kinase G, and other where NO post-translationa...

Identifying pyroptosis- and inflammation-related genes in intracranial aneurysms based on bioinformatics analysis

Intracranial aneurysm (IA) is the most common cerebrovascular disease, and subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by its rupture can seriously impede nerve function. Pyroptosis is an inflammatory mode of cell death wh...

Drosophila Atlastin regulates synaptic vesicle mobilization independent of bone morphogenetic protein signaling

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contacts endosomes in all parts of a motor neuron, including the axon and presynaptic terminal, to move structural proteins, proteins that send signals, and lipids over long dist...

Mucin1 induced trophoblast dysfunction in gestational diabetes mellitus via Wnt/β-catenin pathway

To elucidate the role of Mucin1 (MUC1) in the trophoblast function (glucose uptake and apoptosis) of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) women through the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.

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Biological Research

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The landscape of biomedical research

This interactive visualization displays 21 million scientific papers collected in the PubMed database , maintained by the United States National Library of Medicine and encompassing all biomedical and life science fields of research.

You can scroll the narration in the left part of the screen, and interact with the visualization in the right part of the screen. Zooming in loads additional papers. Information about each individual paper appears on mouse-over, and clicking on a paper opens its PubMed page in a separate window. Search over titles is available in the upper-right corner.

Scroll down to read more!

And see our paper for more details.


Over one million articles are being currently published every year in biomedicine and life sciences. The sheer amount of publications makes it difficult to track the evolution of biomedical publishing as a whole. Search engines like PubMed and Google Scholar allow to find specific papers given suitable keywords and follow the citation networks that these papers are embedded in, yet none of them allows to explore the biomedical literature ‘landscape’ from a global perspective. This makes it hard to see how research topics evolve over time, how different fields are related to each other, or how new methods and techniques are adopted in different fields.

To answer such questions, we provide a bird’s-eye view on the biomedical literature.

Here we offer an approach that enables all of the above: a global two-dimensional atlas of the biomedical and life science literature which is based on the abstracts of all 21 million English language articles contained in the PubMed database. To create the map, we embedded the abstracts into two dimensions using the transformer-based large language model PubMedBERT combined with the neighbor embedding method t-SNE .

Our map is based on the abstract texts alone, and did not use any further metadata or information on citations or references.

This visualization facilitates exploration of the biomedical literature and can reveal aspects of the data that would not be easily noticed with other analysis methods. We showcase the power of our approach in four examples:

  • The emergence of the Covid-19 literature.
  • The evolution of different subfields of neuroscience
  • The uptake of machine learning (upcoming; see paper)
  • The distribution of gender imbalance across biomedical fields.

The shared strategy in all of these is to formulate specific hypotheses about the data based on the visual exploration, and then to confirm them by a dedicated statistical analysis of the original high-dimensional dataset.

We labeled the dataset by selecting 38 keywords contained in journal titles that reflected the general topic of the paper. We based our choice of keywords on lists of medical specialties and life science branches that appeared frequently in the journal titles in our dataset.

Papers were assigned a label if their journal title contained that term. As a result, about a third of the papers in the dataset received labels.

The labels demonstrate that our map has sensible global organization: psychology papers are next to psychiatry papers, optics is next to physics , and so on. Overall, the left part of the map corresponds to life sciences, while the right part corresponds to medicine.

The global structure is well captured by categories assigned based on subject headings by the iCite project . These measures look at all MeSH headings and classify each article by the share that is related to humans, to molecular biology, or to animal studies. The right half of the chart is human medicine, while the left half is split between animal and biochemical studies.

While we use journal titles to assign labels, the actual data underlying this representation are abstract texts . Here we color the map by length of each abstract (darker color: shorter abstracts; lighter color: longer abstracts). This, too, shows regional patterns, with some disciplines preferring longer abstracts than others.

Abstract lengths do not obey a smooth distribution: instead, they cluster at 150, 200, and 250 words, likely because authors are constrained by journals’ submission guidelines.

The majority of the displayed papers were published between 1970 and 2021. Here darker colors correspond to earlier publication years and lighter colors correspond to more recent papers.

Our map, however, is not predominantly organized by time. Most regions contain articles from multiple different eras in fairly close proximity.

But when zooming in closer, temporal periods often become well segregated. In most individual fields, the temporal division is very strong: for example, here we see that science progresses within immunology and virology in such a way that recent articles have abstracts much more similar to each other than to articles from the 1970s and 1980s in the same fields.

Strikingly, one area of the map contains only papers from 2020–21. These are papers on Covid-19.

We considered a paper Covid-related if it contained phrases like “Covid-19” or “SARS-CoV-2” in the abstract text. Our dataset includes 132 thousand Covid-related papers, most of which are concentrated in this area.

See our paper for direct evidence that Covid literature formed an unprecedentally tight research cluster.

We can group the Covid papers based on the presence of specific keywords in their title. All different kinds of Covid-related research appear in this cluster in microcosm, from treatment and epidemiology at the top, to social and family-related issues at the bottom.

Vaccines appear as two major regions which are completely distinct: one involving the scientific effort to create and test vaccines, and the other (towards the bottom) involving the public health effort to get people to use the vaccines once they were widely available.

We can also see how the focus of Covid publications shifted with time during 2020–2021. Early papers are predominantly clinical, while research on societal implications and vaccine hesitancy appeared later.


Neuroscience papers congeal into two large regions of the map: one in the upper part, and one in the lower part.

Coloring neuroscience papers by some of the prominent terms appearing in their titles, we see that the upper part encompasses research on cellular and molecular neuroscience, whereas the lower part contains literature on behavioural and computational neuroscience.

Coloring papers by publication year suggests that neuroscience originated as a study of cellular and molecular mechanisms, and later broadened to include behavioural and computational research.

See direct quantifications of this effect in our paper.

Gender bias

Using the first name of the first author of each paper, we could infer their gender. Coloring the map with the inferred gender, we can see which research fields have more male or female authors.

Some areas are dominated by either female or male first authors. Here are some examples:

In some individual disciplines we saw substantial heterogeneity of gender ratios. For example, there were male- and female-dominated regions in the map of healthcare papers. One of the more male-dominated clusters focused on financial management while one of the more female ones – on patient care.

In education, female authors dominated research on nursing training; male authors were more frequent in research on medical training.

In surgery, only 24% of the first authors were female, but this fraction increased to 61% in the cluster of papers on veterinary surgery.


Text similarity metrics like these offer potentially useful methods for identifying large-scale patterns. Several specific areas, in particular on top of the map, covering research on cancer-related drugs, marker genes, and microRNA. These areas are known targets of paper mills, which are for-profit organizations that produce fraudulent research papers and sell the authorship.

In the paper we investigate this region with particularly high fraction (48/443) of retracted papers. Most other papers in this area have similar title format (variations of “MicroRNA- X does Y by targeting Z in osteosarcoma”), paper structure, and figure style, and 24/25 of them had authors affiliated with Chinese hospitals (some of which provide promotions or pay increases for publications without providing substantial laboratory support).

Regions like this merit closer attention.

Linking data

Pubmed IDs are universal identifiers that allow for various other integrations with our map. Right now, for example, we display citation counts for each paper.

Search using PubMed APIs

If you have a specific list of pubmed ids separated by commas, spaces, or newlines (or any combination) you can enter them into the searchbox below to highlight them on the map. Note that you may need to zoom in to see all the points.

Alter point sizes for selected and unselected points.

BERT model vs. TF-IDF

We also produced a two-dimensional map based on the bag-of-words representation of PubMed abstracts (known in the natural language processing literature as TF-IDF) instead of the PubMedBERT model. This resulted in worse separation between our journal-based labels, so used the PubMedBERT approach for all the visualizations above. Please see the paper for more detailed comparison.

Here you can switch between the PubMedBERT-based and the TF-IDF-based maps.

biomedical research paper example

Cultural Relativity and Acceptance of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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biomedical research paper example

Main Article Content

There is a debate about the ethical implications of using human embryos in stem cell research, which can be influenced by cultural, moral, and social values. This paper argues for an adaptable framework to accommodate diverse cultural and religious perspectives. By using an adaptive ethics model, research protections can reflect various populations and foster growth in stem cell research possibilities.


Stem cell research combines biology, medicine, and technology, promising to alter health care and the understanding of human development. Yet, ethical contention exists because of individuals’ perceptions of using human embryos based on their various cultural, moral, and social values. While these disagreements concerning policy, use, and general acceptance have prompted the development of an international ethics policy, such a uniform approach can overlook the nuanced ethical landscapes between cultures. With diverse viewpoints in public health, a single global policy, especially one reflecting Western ethics or the ethics prevalent in high-income countries, is impractical. This paper argues for a culturally sensitive, adaptable framework for the use of embryonic stem cells. Stem cell policy should accommodate varying ethical viewpoints and promote an effective global dialogue. With an extension of an ethics model that can adapt to various cultures, we recommend localized guidelines that reflect the moral views of the people those guidelines serve.

Stem cells, characterized by their unique ability to differentiate into various cell types, enable the repair or replacement of damaged tissues. Two primary types of stem cells are somatic stem cells (adult stem cells) and embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells exist in developed tissues and maintain the body’s repair processes. [1] Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are remarkably pluripotent or versatile, making them valuable in research. [2] However, the use of ESCs has sparked ethics debates. Considering the potential of embryonic stem cells, research guidelines are essential. The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) provides international stem cell research guidelines. They call for “public conversations touching on the scientific significance as well as the societal and ethical issues raised by ESC research.” [3] The ISSCR also publishes updates about culturing human embryos 14 days post fertilization, suggesting local policies and regulations should continue to evolve as ESC research develops. [4]  Like the ISSCR, which calls for local law and policy to adapt to developing stem cell research given cultural acceptance, this paper highlights the importance of local social factors such as religion and culture.

I.     Global Cultural Perspective of Embryonic Stem Cells

Views on ESCs vary throughout the world. Some countries readily embrace stem cell research and therapies, while others have stricter regulations due to ethical concerns surrounding embryonic stem cells and when an embryo becomes entitled to moral consideration. The philosophical issue of when the “someone” begins to be a human after fertilization, in the morally relevant sense, [5] impacts when an embryo becomes not just worthy of protection but morally entitled to it. The process of creating embryonic stem cell lines involves the destruction of the embryos for research. [6] Consequently, global engagement in ESC research depends on social-cultural acceptability.

a.     US and Rights-Based Cultures

In the United States, attitudes toward stem cell therapies are diverse. The ethics and social approaches, which value individualism, [7] trigger debates regarding the destruction of human embryos, creating a complex regulatory environment. For example, the 1996 Dickey-Wicker Amendment prohibited federal funding for the creation of embryos for research and the destruction of embryos for “more than allowed for research on fetuses in utero.” [8] Following suit, in 2001, the Bush Administration heavily restricted stem cell lines for research. However, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 was proposed to help develop ESC research but was ultimately vetoed. [9] Under the Obama administration, in 2009, an executive order lifted restrictions allowing for more development in this field. [10] The flux of research capacity and funding parallels the different cultural perceptions of human dignity of the embryo and how it is socially presented within the country’s research culture. [11]

b.     Ubuntu and Collective Cultures

African bioethics differs from Western individualism because of the different traditions and values. African traditions, as described by individuals from South Africa and supported by some studies in other African countries, including Ghana and Kenya, follow the African moral philosophies of Ubuntu or Botho and Ukama , which “advocates for a form of wholeness that comes through one’s relationship and connectedness with other people in the society,” [12] making autonomy a socially collective concept. In this context, for the community to act autonomously, individuals would come together to decide what is best for the collective. Thus, stem cell research would require examining the value of the research to society as a whole and the use of the embryos as a collective societal resource. If society views the source as part of the collective whole, and opposes using stem cells, compromising the cultural values to pursue research may cause social detachment and stunt research growth. [13] Based on local culture and moral philosophy, the permissibility of stem cell research depends on how embryo, stem cell, and cell line therapies relate to the community as a whole. Ubuntu is the expression of humanness, with the person’s identity drawn from the “’I am because we are’” value. [14] The decision in a collectivistic culture becomes one born of cultural context, and individual decisions give deference to others in the society.

Consent differs in cultures where thought and moral philosophy are based on a collective paradigm. So, applying Western bioethical concepts is unrealistic. For one, Africa is a diverse continent with many countries with different belief systems, access to health care, and reliance on traditional or Western medicines. Where traditional medicine is the primary treatment, the “’restrictive focus on biomedically-related bioethics’” [is] problematic in African contexts because it neglects bioethical issues raised by traditional systems.” [15] No single approach applies in all areas or contexts. Rather than evaluating the permissibility of ESC research according to Western concepts such as the four principles approach, different ethics approaches should prevail.

Another consideration is the socio-economic standing of countries. In parts of South Africa, researchers have not focused heavily on contributing to the stem cell discourse, either because it is not considered health care or a health science priority or because resources are unavailable. [16] Each country’s priorities differ given different social, political, and economic factors. In South Africa, for instance, areas such as maternal mortality, non-communicable diseases, telemedicine, and the strength of health systems need improvement and require more focus. [17] Stem cell research could benefit the population, but it also could divert resources from basic medical care. Researchers in South Africa adhere to the National Health Act and Medicines Control Act in South Africa and international guidelines; however, the Act is not strictly enforced, and there is no clear legislation for research conduct or ethical guidelines. [18]

Some parts of Africa condemn stem cell research. For example, 98.2 percent of the Tunisian population is Muslim. [19] Tunisia does not permit stem cell research because of moral conflict with a Fatwa. Religion heavily saturates the regulation and direction of research. [20] Stem cell use became permissible for reproductive purposes only recently, with tight restrictions preventing cells from being used in any research other than procedures concerning ART/IVF.  Their use is conditioned on consent, and available only to married couples. [21] The community's receptiveness to stem cell research depends on including communitarian African ethics.

c.     Asia

Some Asian countries also have a collective model of ethics and decision making. [22] In China, the ethics model promotes a sincere respect for life or human dignity, [23] based on protective medicine. This model, influenced by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), [24] recognizes Qi as the vital energy delivered via the meridians of the body; it connects illness to body systems, the body’s entire constitution, and the universe for a holistic bond of nature, health, and quality of life. [25] Following a protective ethics model, and traditional customs of wholeness, investment in stem cell research is heavily desired for its applications in regenerative therapies, disease modeling, and protective medicines. In a survey of medical students and healthcare practitioners, 30.8 percent considered stem cell research morally unacceptable while 63.5 percent accepted medical research using human embryonic stem cells. Of these individuals, 89.9 percent supported increased funding for stem cell research. [26] The scientific community might not reflect the overall population. From 1997 to 2019, China spent a total of $576 million (USD) on stem cell research at 8,050 stem cell programs, increased published presence from 0.6 percent to 14.01 percent of total global stem cell publications as of 2014, and made significant strides in cell-based therapies for various medical conditions. [27] However, while China has made substantial investments in stem cell research and achieved notable progress in clinical applications, concerns linger regarding ethical oversight and transparency. [28] For example, the China Biosecurity Law, promoted by the National Health Commission and China Hospital Association, attempted to mitigate risks by introducing an institutional review board (IRB) in the regulatory bodies. 5800 IRBs registered with the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry since 2021. [29] However, issues still need to be addressed in implementing effective IRB review and approval procedures.

The substantial government funding and focus on scientific advancement have sometimes overshadowed considerations of regional cultures, ethnic minorities, and individual perspectives, particularly evident during the one-child policy era. As government policy adapts to promote public stability, such as the change from the one-child to the two-child policy, [30] research ethics should also adapt to ensure respect for the values of its represented peoples.

Japan is also relatively supportive of stem cell research and therapies. Japan has a more transparent regulatory framework, allowing for faster approval of regenerative medicine products, which has led to several advanced clinical trials and therapies. [31] South Korea is also actively engaged in stem cell research and has a history of breakthroughs in cloning and embryonic stem cells. [32] However, the field is controversial, and there are issues of scientific integrity. For example, the Korean FDA fast-tracked products for approval, [33] and in another instance, the oocyte source was unclear and possibly violated ethical standards. [34] Trust is important in research, as it builds collaborative foundations between colleagues, trial participant comfort, open-mindedness for complicated and sensitive discussions, and supports regulatory procedures for stakeholders. There is a need to respect the culture’s interest, engagement, and for research and clinical trials to be transparent and have ethical oversight to promote global research discourse and trust.

d.     Middle East

Countries in the Middle East have varying degrees of acceptance of or restrictions to policies related to using embryonic stem cells due to cultural and religious influences. Saudi Arabia has made significant contributions to stem cell research, and conducts research based on international guidelines for ethical conduct and under strict adherence to guidelines in accordance with Islamic principles. Specifically, the Saudi government and people require ESC research to adhere to Sharia law. In addition to umbilical and placental stem cells, [35] Saudi Arabia permits the use of embryonic stem cells as long as they come from miscarriages, therapeutic abortions permissible by Sharia law, or are left over from in vitro fertilization and donated to research. [36] Laws and ethical guidelines for stem cell research allow the development of research institutions such as the King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, which has a cord blood bank and a stem cell registry with nearly 10,000 donors. [37] Such volume and acceptance are due to the ethical ‘permissibility’ of the donor sources, which do not conflict with religious pillars. However, some researchers err on the side of caution, choosing not to use embryos or fetal tissue as they feel it is unethical to do so. [38]

Jordan has a positive research ethics culture. [39] However, there is a significant issue of lack of trust in researchers, with 45.23 percent (38.66 percent agreeing and 6.57 percent strongly agreeing) of Jordanians holding a low level of trust in researchers, compared to 81.34 percent of Jordanians agreeing that they feel safe to participate in a research trial. [40] Safety testifies to the feeling of confidence that adequate measures are in place to protect participants from harm, whereas trust in researchers could represent the confidence in researchers to act in the participants’ best interests, adhere to ethical guidelines, provide accurate information, and respect participants’ rights and dignity. One method to improve trust would be to address communication issues relevant to ESC. Legislation surrounding stem cell research has adopted specific language, especially concerning clarification “between ‘stem cells’ and ‘embryonic stem cells’” in translation. [41] Furthermore, legislation “mandates the creation of a national committee… laying out specific regulations for stem-cell banking in accordance with international standards.” [42] This broad regulation opens the door for future global engagement and maintains transparency. However, these regulations may also constrain the influence of research direction, pace, and accessibility of research outcomes.

e.     Europe

In the European Union (EU), ethics is also principle-based, but the principles of autonomy, dignity, integrity, and vulnerability are interconnected. [43] As such, the opportunity for cohesion and concessions between individuals’ thoughts and ideals allows for a more adaptable ethics model due to the flexible principles that relate to the human experience The EU has put forth a framework in its Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being allowing member states to take different approaches. Each European state applies these principles to its specific conventions, leading to or reflecting different acceptance levels of stem cell research. [44]

For example, in Germany, Lebenzusammenhang , or the coherence of life, references integrity in the unity of human culture. Namely, the personal sphere “should not be subject to external intervention.” [45]  Stem cell interventions could affect this concept of bodily completeness, leading to heavy restrictions. Under the Grundgesetz, human dignity and the right to life with physical integrity are paramount. [46] The Embryo Protection Act of 1991 made producing cell lines illegal. Cell lines can be imported if approved by the Central Ethics Commission for Stem Cell Research only if they were derived before May 2007. [47] Stem cell research respects the integrity of life for the embryo with heavy specifications and intense oversight. This is vastly different in Finland, where the regulatory bodies find research more permissible in IVF excess, but only up to 14 days after fertilization. [48] Spain’s approach differs still, with a comprehensive regulatory framework. [49] Thus, research regulation can be culture-specific due to variations in applied principles. Diverse cultures call for various approaches to ethical permissibility. [50] Only an adaptive-deliberative model can address the cultural constructions of self and achieve positive, culturally sensitive stem cell research practices. [51]

II.     Religious Perspectives on ESC

Embryonic stem cell sources are the main consideration within religious contexts. While individuals may not regard their own religious texts as authoritative or factual, religion can shape their foundations or perspectives.

The Qur'an states:

“And indeed We created man from a quintessence of clay. Then We placed within him a small quantity of nutfa (sperm to fertilize) in a safe place. Then We have fashioned the nutfa into an ‘alaqa (clinging clot or cell cluster), then We developed the ‘alaqa into mudgha (a lump of flesh), and We made mudgha into bones, and clothed the bones with flesh, then We brought it into being as a new creation. So Blessed is Allah, the Best of Creators.” [52]

Many scholars of Islam estimate the time of soul installment, marked by the angel breathing in the soul to bring the individual into creation, as 120 days from conception. [53] Personhood begins at this point, and the value of life would prohibit research or experimentation that could harm the individual. If the fetus is more than 120 days old, the time ensoulment is interpreted to occur according to Islamic law, abortion is no longer permissible. [54] There are a few opposing opinions about early embryos in Islamic traditions. According to some Islamic theologians, there is no ensoulment of the early embryo, which is the source of stem cells for ESC research. [55]

In Buddhism, the stance on stem cell research is not settled. The main tenets, the prohibition against harming or destroying others (ahimsa) and the pursuit of knowledge (prajña) and compassion (karuna), leave Buddhist scholars and communities divided. [56] Some scholars argue stem cell research is in accordance with the Buddhist tenet of seeking knowledge and ending human suffering. Others feel it violates the principle of not harming others. Finding the balance between these two points relies on the karmic burden of Buddhist morality. In trying to prevent ahimsa towards the embryo, Buddhist scholars suggest that to comply with Buddhist tenets, research cannot be done as the embryo has personhood at the moment of conception and would reincarnate immediately, harming the individual's ability to build their karmic burden. [57] On the other hand, the Bodhisattvas, those considered to be on the path to enlightenment or Nirvana, have given organs and flesh to others to help alleviate grieving and to benefit all. [58] Acceptance varies on applied beliefs and interpretations.

Catholicism does not support embryonic stem cell research, as it entails creation or destruction of human embryos. This destruction conflicts with the belief in the sanctity of life. For example, in the Old Testament, Genesis describes humanity as being created in God’s image and multiplying on the Earth, referencing the sacred rights to human conception and the purpose of development and life. In the Ten Commandments, the tenet that one should not kill has numerous interpretations where killing could mean murder or shedding of the sanctity of life, demonstrating the high value of human personhood. In other books, the theological conception of when life begins is interpreted as in utero, [59] highlighting the inviolability of life and its formation in vivo to make a religious point for accepting such research as relatively limited, if at all. [60] The Vatican has released ethical directives to help apply a theological basis to modern-day conflicts. The Magisterium of the Church states that “unless there is a moral certainty of not causing harm,” experimentation on fetuses, fertilized cells, stem cells, or embryos constitutes a crime. [61] Such procedures would not respect the human person who exists at these stages, according to Catholicism. Damages to the embryo are considered gravely immoral and illicit. [62] Although the Catholic Church officially opposes abortion, surveys demonstrate that many Catholic people hold pro-choice views, whether due to the context of conception, stage of pregnancy, threat to the mother’s life, or for other reasons, demonstrating that practicing members can also accept some but not all tenets. [63]

Some major Jewish denominations, such as the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements, are open to supporting ESC use or research as long as it is for saving a life. [64] Within Judaism, the Talmud, or study, gives personhood to the child at birth and emphasizes that life does not begin at conception: [65]

“If she is found pregnant, until the fortieth day it is mere fluid,” [66]

Whereas most religions prioritize the status of human embryos, the Halakah (Jewish religious law) states that to save one life, most other religious laws can be ignored because it is in pursuit of preservation. [67] Stem cell research is accepted due to application of these religious laws.

We recognize that all religions contain subsets and sects. The variety of environmental and cultural differences within religious groups requires further analysis to respect the flexibility of religious thoughts and practices. We make no presumptions that all cultures require notions of autonomy or morality as under the common morality theory , which asserts a set of universal moral norms that all individuals share provides moral reasoning and guides ethical decisions. [68] We only wish to show that the interaction with morality varies between cultures and countries.

III.     A Flexible Ethical Approach

The plurality of different moral approaches described above demonstrates that there can be no universally acceptable uniform law for ESC on a global scale. Instead of developing one standard, flexible ethical applications must be continued. We recommend local guidelines that incorporate important cultural and ethical priorities.

While the Declaration of Helsinki is more relevant to people in clinical trials receiving ESC products, in keeping with the tradition of protections for research subjects, consent of the donor is an ethical requirement for ESC donation in many jurisdictions including the US, Canada, and Europe. [69] The Declaration of Helsinki provides a reference point for regulatory standards and could potentially be used as a universal baseline for obtaining consent prior to gamete or embryo donation.

For instance, in Columbia University’s egg donor program for stem cell research, donors followed standard screening protocols and “underwent counseling sessions that included information as to the purpose of oocyte donation for research, what the oocytes would be used for, the risks and benefits of donation, and process of oocyte stimulation” to ensure transparency for consent. [70] The program helped advance stem cell research and provided clear and safe research methods with paid participants. Though paid participation or covering costs of incidental expenses may not be socially acceptable in every culture or context, [71] and creating embryos for ESC research is illegal in many jurisdictions, Columbia’s program was effective because of the clear and honest communications with donors, IRBs, and related stakeholders.  This example demonstrates that cultural acceptance of scientific research and of the idea that an egg or embryo does not have personhood is likely behind societal acceptance of donating eggs for ESC research. As noted, many countries do not permit the creation of embryos for research.

Proper communication and education regarding the process and purpose of stem cell research may bolster comprehension and garner more acceptance. “Given the sensitive subject material, a complete consent process can support voluntary participation through trust, understanding, and ethical norms from the cultures and morals participants value. This can be hard for researchers entering countries of different socioeconomic stability, with different languages and different societal values. [72]

An adequate moral foundation in medical ethics is derived from the cultural and religious basis that informs knowledge and actions. [73] Understanding local cultural and religious values and their impact on research could help researchers develop humility and promote inclusion.

IV.     Concerns

Some may argue that if researchers all adhere to one ethics standard, protection will be satisfied across all borders, and the global public will trust researchers. However, defining what needs to be protected and how to define such research standards is very specific to the people to which standards are applied. We suggest that applying one uniform guide cannot accurately protect each individual because we all possess our own perceptions and interpretations of social values. [74] Therefore, the issue of not adjusting to the moral pluralism between peoples in applying one standard of ethics can be resolved by building out ethics models that can be adapted to different cultures and religions.

Other concerns include medical tourism, which may promote health inequities. [75] Some countries may develop and approve products derived from ESC research before others, compromising research ethics or drug approval processes. There are also concerns about the sale of unauthorized stem cell treatments, for example, those without FDA approval in the United States. Countries with robust research infrastructures may be tempted to attract medical tourists, and some customers will have false hopes based on aggressive publicity of unproven treatments. [76]

For example, in China, stem cell clinics can market to foreign clients who are not protected under the regulatory regimes. Companies employ a marketing strategy of “ethically friendly” therapies. Specifically, in the case of Beike, China’s leading stem cell tourism company and sprouting network, ethical oversight of administrators or health bureaus at one site has “the unintended consequence of shifting questionable activities to another node in Beike's diffuse network.” [77] In contrast, Jordan is aware of stem cell research’s potential abuse and its own status as a “health-care hub.” Jordan’s expanded regulations include preserving the interests of individuals in clinical trials and banning private companies from ESC research to preserve transparency and the integrity of research practices. [78]

The social priorities of the community are also a concern. The ISSCR explicitly states that guidelines “should be periodically revised to accommodate scientific advances, new challenges, and evolving social priorities.” [79] The adaptable ethics model extends this consideration further by addressing whether research is warranted given the varying degrees of socioeconomic conditions, political stability, and healthcare accessibilities and limitations. An ethical approach would require discussion about resource allocation and appropriate distribution of funds. [80]

While some religions emphasize the sanctity of life from conception, which may lead to public opposition to ESC research, others encourage ESC research due to its potential for healing and alleviating human pain. Many countries have special regulations that balance local views on embryonic personhood, the benefits of research as individual or societal goods, and the protection of human research subjects. To foster understanding and constructive dialogue, global policy frameworks should prioritize the protection of universal human rights, transparency, and informed consent. In addition to these foundational global policies, we recommend tailoring local guidelines to reflect the diverse cultural and religious perspectives of the populations they govern. Ethics models should be adapted to local populations to effectively establish research protections, growth, and possibilities of stem cell research.

For example, in countries with strong beliefs in the moral sanctity of embryos or heavy religious restrictions, an adaptive model can allow for discussion instead of immediate rejection. In countries with limited individual rights and voice in science policy, an adaptive model ensures cultural, moral, and religious views are taken into consideration, thereby building social inclusion. While this ethical consideration by the government may not give a complete voice to every individual, it will help balance policies and maintain the diverse perspectives of those it affects. Embracing an adaptive ethics model of ESC research promotes open-minded dialogue and respect for the importance of human belief and tradition. By actively engaging with cultural and religious values, researchers can better handle disagreements and promote ethical research practices that benefit each society.

This brief exploration of the religious and cultural differences that impact ESC research reveals the nuances of relative ethics and highlights a need for local policymakers to apply a more intense adaptive model.

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[37] Alahmad, G., Aljohani, S., & Najjar, M. F. (2020). Ethical challenges regarding the use of stem cells: Interviews with researchers from Saudi Arabia.  BMC medical ethics ,  21 (1), 35. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-020-00482-6

[38] Alahmad, G., Aljohani, S., & Najjar, M. F. (2020). Ethical challenges regarding the use of stem cells: Interviews with researchers from Saudi Arabia. BMC medical ethics , 21(1), 35. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-020-00482-6

Culturally, autonomy practices follow a relational autonomy approach based on a paternalistic deontological health care model. The adherence to strict international research policies and religious pillars within the regulatory environment is a great foundation for research ethics. However, there is a need to develop locally targeted ethics approaches for research (as called for in Alahmad, G., Aljohani, S., & Najjar, M. F. (2020). Ethical challenges regarding the use of stem cells: interviews with researchers from Saudi Arabia. BMC medical ethics, 21(1), 35. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-020-00482-6), this decision-making approach may help advise a research decision model. For more on the clinical cultural autonomy approaches, see: Alabdullah, Y. Y., Alzaid, E., Alsaad, S., Alamri, T., Alolayan, S. W., Bah, S., & Aljoudi, A. S. (2022). Autonomy and paternalism in Shared decision‐making in a Saudi Arabian tertiary hospital: A cross‐sectional study. Developing World Bioethics , 23 (3), 260–268. https://doi.org/10.1111/dewb.12355 ; Bukhari, A. A. (2017). Universal Principles of Bioethics and Patient Rights in Saudi Arabia (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/124; Ladha, S., Nakshawani, S. A., Alzaidy, A., & Tarab, B. (2023, October 26). Islam and Bioethics: What We All Need to Know . Columbia University School of Professional Studies. https://sps.columbia.edu/events/islam-and-bioethics-what-we-all-need-know

[39] Ababneh, M. A., Al-Azzam, S. I., Alzoubi, K., Rababa’h, A., & Al Demour, S. (2021). Understanding and attitudes of the Jordanian public about clinical research ethics.  Research Ethics ,  17 (2), 228-241.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1747016120966779

[40] Ababneh, M. A., Al-Azzam, S. I., Alzoubi, K., Rababa’h, A., & Al Demour, S. (2021). Understanding and attitudes of the Jordanian public about clinical research ethics.  Research Ethics ,  17 (2), 228-241.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1747016120966779

[41] Dajani, R. (2014). Jordan’s stem-cell law can guide the Middle East.  Nature  510, 189. https://doi.org/10.1038/510189a

[42] Dajani, R. (2014). Jordan’s stem-cell law can guide the Middle East.  Nature  510, 189. https://doi.org/10.1038/510189a

[43] The EU’s definition of autonomy relates to the capacity for creating ideas, moral insight, decisions, and actions without constraint, personal responsibility, and informed consent. However, the EU views autonomy as not completely able to protect individuals and depends on other principles, such as dignity, which “expresses the intrinsic worth and fundamental equality of all human beings.” Rendtorff, J.D., Kemp, P. (2019). Four Ethical Principles in European Bioethics and Biolaw: Autonomy, Dignity, Integrity and Vulnerability. In: Valdés, E., Lecaros, J. (eds) Biolaw and Policy in the Twenty-First Century. International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine, vol 78. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-05903-3_3

[44] Council of Europe. Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (ETS No. 164) https://www.coe.int/en/web/conventions/full-list?module=treaty-detail&treatynum=164 (forbidding the creation of embryos for research purposes only, and suggests embryos in vitro have protections.); Also see Drabiak-Syed B. K. (2013). New President, New Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Policy: Comparative International Perspectives and Embryonic Stem Cell Research Laws in France.  Biotechnology Law Report ,  32 (6), 349–356. https://doi.org/10.1089/blr.2013.9865

[45] Rendtorff, J.D., Kemp, P. (2019). Four Ethical Principles in European Bioethics and Biolaw: Autonomy, Dignity, Integrity and Vulnerability. In: Valdés, E., Lecaros, J. (eds) Biolaw and Policy in the Twenty-First Century. International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine, vol 78. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-05903-3_3

[46] Tomuschat, C., Currie, D. P., Kommers, D. P., & Kerr, R. (Trans.). (1949, May 23). Basic law for the Federal Republic of Germany. https://www.btg-bestellservice.de/pdf/80201000.pdf

[47] Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Germany . Eurostemcell. (2017, April 26). https://www.eurostemcell.org/regulation-stem-cell-research-germany

[48] Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Finland . Eurostemcell. (2017, April 26). https://www.eurostemcell.org/regulation-stem-cell-research-finland

[49] Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Spain . Eurostemcell. (2017, April 26). https://www.eurostemcell.org/regulation-stem-cell-research-spain

[50] Some sources to consider regarding ethics models or regulatory oversights of other cultures not covered:

Kara MA. Applicability of the principle of respect for autonomy: the perspective of Turkey. J Med Ethics. 2007 Nov;33(11):627-30. doi: 10.1136/jme.2006.017400. PMID: 17971462; PMCID: PMC2598110.

Ugarte, O. N., & Acioly, M. A. (2014). The principle of autonomy in Brazil: one needs to discuss it ...  Revista do Colegio Brasileiro de Cirurgioes ,  41 (5), 374–377. https://doi.org/10.1590/0100-69912014005013

Bharadwaj, A., & Glasner, P. E. (2012). Local cells, global science: The rise of embryonic stem cell research in India . Routledge.

For further research on specific European countries regarding ethical and regulatory framework, we recommend this database: Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Europe . Eurostemcell. (2017, April 26). https://www.eurostemcell.org/regulation-stem-cell-research-europe   

[51] Klitzman, R. (2006). Complications of culture in obtaining informed consent. The American Journal of Bioethics, 6(1), 20–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/15265160500394671 see also: Ekmekci, P. E., & Arda, B. (2017). Interculturalism and Informed Consent: Respecting Cultural Differences without Breaching Human Rights.  Cultura (Iasi, Romania) ,  14 (2), 159–172.; For why trust is important in research, see also: Gray, B., Hilder, J., Macdonald, L., Tester, R., Dowell, A., & Stubbe, M. (2017). Are research ethics guidelines culturally competent?  Research Ethics ,  13 (1), 23-41.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1747016116650235

[52] The Qur'an  (M. Khattab, Trans.). (1965). Al-Mu’minun, 23: 12-14. https://quran.com/23

[53] Lenfest, Y. (2017, December 8). Islam and the beginning of human life . Bill of Health. https://blog.petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/2017/12/08/islam-and-the-beginning-of-human-life/

[54] Aksoy, S. (2005). Making regulations and drawing up legislation in Islamic countries under conditions of uncertainty, with special reference to embryonic stem cell research. Journal of Medical Ethics , 31: 399-403.; see also: Mahmoud, Azza. "Islamic Bioethics: National Regulations and Guidelines of Human Stem Cell Research in the Muslim World." Master's thesis, Chapman University, 2022. https://doi.org/10.36837/ chapman.000386

[55] Rashid, R. (2022). When does Ensoulment occur in the Human Foetus. Journal of the British Islamic Medical Association , 12 (4). ISSN 2634 8071. https://www.jbima.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/2-Ethics-3_-Ensoulment_Rafaqat.pdf.

[56] Sivaraman, M. & Noor, S. (2017). Ethics of embryonic stem cell research according to Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic, and Islamic religions: perspective from Malaysia. Asian Biomedicine,8(1) 43-52.  https://doi.org/10.5372/1905-7415.0801.260

[57] Jafari, M., Elahi, F., Ozyurt, S. & Wrigley, T. (2007). 4. Religious Perspectives on Embryonic Stem Cell Research. In K. Monroe, R. Miller & J. Tobis (Ed.),  Fundamentals of the Stem Cell Debate: The Scientific, Religious, Ethical, and Political Issues  (pp. 79-94). Berkeley: University of California Press.  https://escholarship.org/content/qt9rj0k7s3/qt9rj0k7s3_noSplash_f9aca2e02c3777c7fb76ea768ba458f0.pdf https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520940994-005

[58] Lecso, P. A. (1991). The Bodhisattva Ideal and Organ Transplantation.  Journal of Religion and Health ,  30 (1), 35–41. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27510629 ; Bodhisattva, S. (n.d.). The Key of Becoming a Bodhisattva . A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life. http://www.buddhism.org/Sutras/2/BodhisattvaWay.htm

[59] There is no explicit religious reference to when life begins or how to conduct research that interacts with the concept of life. However, these are relevant verses pertaining to how the fetus is viewed. (( King James Bible . (1999). Oxford University Press. (original work published 1769))

Jerimiah 1: 5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…”

In prophet Jerimiah’s insight, God set him apart as a person known before childbirth, a theme carried within the Psalm of David.

Psalm 139: 13-14 “…Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

These verses demonstrate David’s respect for God as an entity that would know of all man’s thoughts and doings even before birth.

[60] It should be noted that abortion is not supported as well.

[61] The Vatican. (1987, February 22). Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Replies to Certain Questions of the Day . Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith. https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19870222_respect-for-human-life_en.html

[62] The Vatican. (2000, August 25). Declaration On the Production and the Scientific and Therapeutic Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells . Pontifical Academy for Life. https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_20000824_cellule-staminali_en.html ; Ohara, N. (2003). Ethical Consideration of Experimentation Using Living Human Embryos: The Catholic Church’s Position on Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology . Retrieved from https://article.imrpress.com/journal/CEOG/30/2-3/pii/2003018/77-81.pdf.

[63] Smith, G. A. (2022, May 23). Like Americans overall, Catholics vary in their abortion views, with regular mass attenders most opposed . Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2022/05/23/like-americans-overall-catholics-vary-in-their-abortion-views-with-regular-mass-attenders-most-opposed/

[64] Rosner, F., & Reichman, E. (2002). Embryonic stem cell research in Jewish law. Journal of halacha and contemporary society , (43), 49–68.; Jafari, M., Elahi, F., Ozyurt, S. & Wrigley, T. (2007). 4. Religious Perspectives on Embryonic Stem Cell Research. In K. Monroe, R. Miller & J. Tobis (Ed.),  Fundamentals of the Stem Cell Debate: The Scientific, Religious, Ethical, and Political Issues  (pp. 79-94). Berkeley: University of California Press.  https://escholarship.org/content/qt9rj0k7s3/qt9rj0k7s3_noSplash_f9aca2e02c3777c7fb76ea768ba458f0.pdf https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520940994-005

[65] Schenker J. G. (2008). The beginning of human life: status of embryo. Perspectives in Halakha (Jewish Religious Law).  Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics ,  25 (6), 271–276. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-008-9221-6

[66] Ruttenberg, D. (2020, May 5). The Torah of Abortion Justice (annotated source sheet) . Sefaria. https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/234926.7?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

[67] Jafari, M., Elahi, F., Ozyurt, S. & Wrigley, T. (2007). 4. Religious Perspectives on Embryonic Stem Cell Research. In K. Monroe, R. Miller & J. Tobis (Ed.),  Fundamentals of the Stem Cell Debate: The Scientific, Religious, Ethical, and Political Issues  (pp. 79-94). Berkeley: University of California Press.  https://escholarship.org/content/qt9rj0k7s3/qt9rj0k7s3_noSplash_f9aca2e02c3777c7fb76ea768ba458f0.pdf https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520940994-005

[68] Gert, B. (2007). Common morality: Deciding what to do . Oxford Univ. Press.

[69] World Medical Association (2013). World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. JAMA , 310(20), 2191–2194. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2013.281053 Declaration of Helsinki – WMA – The World Medical Association .; see also: National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. (1979).  The Belmont report: Ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  https://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/regulations-and-policy/belmont-report/read-the-belmont-report/index.html

[70] Zakarin Safier, L., Gumer, A., Kline, M., Egli, D., & Sauer, M. V. (2018). Compensating human subjects providing oocytes for stem cell research: 9-year experience and outcomes.  Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics ,  35 (7), 1219–1225. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-018-1171-z https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6063839/ see also: Riordan, N. H., & Paz Rodríguez, J. (2021). Addressing concerns regarding associated costs, transparency, and integrity of research in recent stem cell trial. Stem Cells Translational Medicine , 10 (12), 1715–1716. https://doi.org/10.1002/sctm.21-0234

[71] Klitzman, R., & Sauer, M. V. (2009). Payment of egg donors in stem cell research in the USA.  Reproductive biomedicine online ,  18 (5), 603–608. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1472-6483(10)60002-8

[72] Krosin, M. T., Klitzman, R., Levin, B., Cheng, J., & Ranney, M. L. (2006). Problems in comprehension of informed consent in rural and peri-urban Mali, West Africa.  Clinical trials (London, England) ,  3 (3), 306–313. https://doi.org/10.1191/1740774506cn150oa

[73] Veatch, Robert M.  Hippocratic, Religious, and Secular Medical Ethics: The Points of Conflict . Georgetown University Press, 2012.

[74] Msoroka, M. S., & Amundsen, D. (2018). One size fits not quite all: Universal research ethics with diversity.  Research Ethics ,  14 (3), 1-17.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1747016117739939

[75] Pirzada, N. (2022). The Expansion of Turkey’s Medical Tourism Industry.  Voices in Bioethics ,  8 . https://doi.org/10.52214/vib.v8i.9894

[76] Stem Cell Tourism: False Hope for Real Money . Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI). (2023). https://hsci.harvard.edu/stem-cell-tourism , See also: Bissassar, M. (2017). Transnational Stem Cell Tourism: An ethical analysis.  Voices in Bioethics ,  3 . https://doi.org/10.7916/vib.v3i.6027

[77] Song, P. (2011) The proliferation of stem cell therapies in post-Mao China: problematizing ethical regulation,  New Genetics and Society , 30:2, 141-153, DOI:  10.1080/14636778.2011.574375

[78] Dajani, R. (2014). Jordan’s stem-cell law can guide the Middle East.  Nature  510, 189. https://doi.org/10.1038/510189a

[79] International Society for Stem Cell Research. (2024). Standards in stem cell research . International Society for Stem Cell Research. https://www.isscr.org/guidelines/5-standards-in-stem-cell-research

[80] Benjamin, R. (2013). People’s science bodies and rights on the Stem Cell Frontier . Stanford University Press.

Mifrah Hayath

SM Candidate Harvard Medical School, MS Biotechnology Johns Hopkins University

Olivia Bowers

MS Bioethics Columbia University (Disclosure: affiliated with Voices in Bioethics)

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