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In biomedical research, generally, the success of new therapeutic approaches relies on three conditions: specificity, efficacy, and lack of toxicity. These conditions are often tested in cell cultures, mouse models, and clinical trials before a drug is offered to patients. Hence, if biomedical approaches are to be used therapeutically, one should balance the possible harms and the possible benefits of these methods (perform a risk-benefit analysis). The terms harms and benefits are ethically relevant concepts, since ethical obligations or principles about not inflicting harm (nonmaleficence) and promoting good (beneficence) are generally accepted. The ethical principles of nonmaleficence and beneficence form part of several different ethical theories. For instance, they are the foundation of the utilitarian theory, which says that ethically right actions are those ...

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