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2.  Can rights stop the wrongs? Exploring the connections between framings of sex workers’ rights and sexual and reproductive health 
There is growing interest in the ways in which legal and human rights issues related to sex work affect sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV and abuses including human trafficking and sexual exploitation. International agencies, such as UNAIDS, have called for decriminalisation of sex work because the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services is affected by criminalisation and social exclusion as experienced by sex workers. The paper reflects on the connections in various actors’ framings between sex workers sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and the ways that international law is interpreted in policing and regulatory practices.
The literature review that informs this paper was carried out by the authors in the course of their work within the Paulo Longo Research Initiative. The review covered academic and grey literature such as resources generated by sex worker rights activists, UN policy positions and print and online media. The argument in this paper has been developed reflectively through long term involvement with key actors in the field of sex workers’ rights.
International legislation characterises sex work in various ways which do not always accord with moves toward decriminalisation. Law, policy and regulation at national level and law enforcement vary between settings. The demands of sex worker rights activists do relate to sexual and reproductive health but they place greater emphasis on efforts to remove the structural barriers that limit sex workers’ ability to participate in society on an equal footing with other citizens.
Discussion and conclusion
There is a tension between those who wish to uphold the rights of sex workers in order to reduce vulnerability to ill-health and those who insist that sex work is itself a violation of rights. This is reflected in contemporary narratives about sex workers’ rights and the ways in which different actors interpret human rights law. The creation of regulatory frameworks around sex work that support health, safety and freedom from abuse requires a better understanding of the broad scope of laws, policies and enforcement practices in different cultural contexts and economic settings, alongside reviews of UN policies and human rights conventions.
PMCID: PMC3287462  PMID: 22376152
3.  E-Cadherin Acts as a Regulator of Transcripts Associated with a Wide Range of Cellular Processes in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e21463.
We have recently shown that expression of the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin is required for LIF-dependent pluripotency of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells.
In this study, we have assessed global transcript expression in E-cadherin null (Ecad-/-) ES cells cultured in either the presence or absence of LIF and compared these to the parental cell line wtD3.
We show that LIF has little effect on the transcript profile of Ecad-/- ES cells, with statistically significant transcript alterations observed only for Sp8 and Stat3. Comparison of Ecad-/- and wtD3 ES cells cultured in LIF demonstrated significant alterations in the transcript profile, with effects not only confined to cell adhesion and motility but also affecting, for example, primary metabolic processes, catabolism and genes associated with apoptosis. Ecad-/- ES cells share similar, although not identical, gene expression profiles to epiblast-derived pluripotent stem cells, suggesting that E-cadherin expression may inhibit inner cell mass to epiblast transition. We further show that Ecad-/- ES cells maintain a functional β-catenin pool that is able to induce β-catenin/TCF-mediated transactivation but, contrary to previous findings, do not display endogenous β-catenin/TCF-mediated transactivation. We conclude that loss of E-cadherin in mouse ES cells leads to significant transcript alterations independently of β-catenin/TCF transactivation.
PMCID: PMC3136471  PMID: 21779327
4.  Strengthening the research to policy and practice interface: exploring strategies used by research organisations working on sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS 
This commentary introduces the HARPS supplement on getting research into policy and practice in sexual and reproductive health (SRH). The papers in this supplement have been produced by the Sexual Health and HIV Evidence into Practice (SHHEP) collaboration of international research, practitioner and advocacy organizations based in research programmes funded by the UK Department for International Development.
The commentary describes the increasing interest from research and communication practitioners, policy makers and funders in expanding the impact of research on policy and practice. It notes the need for contextually embedded understanding of ways to engage multiple stakeholders in the politicized, sensitive and often contested arenas of sexual and reproductive health. The commentary then introduces the papers under their respective themes: (1) The theory and practice of research engagement (two global papers); (2) Applying policy analysis to explore the role of research evidence in SRH and HIV/AIDS policy (two papers with examples from Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia); (3) Strategies and methodologies for engagement (five papers on Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Swaziland respectively); (4) Advocacy and engagement to influence attitudes on controversial elements of sexual health (two papers, Bangladesh and global); and (5) Institutional approaches to inter-sectoral engagement for action and strengthening research communications (two papers, Ghana and global).
The papers illustrate the many forms research impact can take in the field of sexual and reproductive health. This includes discursive changes through carving out legitimate spaces for public debate; content changes such as contributing to changing laws and practices, procedural changes such as influencing how data on SRH are collected, and behavioural changes through partnerships with civil society actors such as advocacy groups and journalists.
The contributions to this supplement provide a body of critical analysis of communication and engagement strategies across the spectrum of SRH and HIV/AIDS research through the testing of different models for the research-to-policy interface. They provide new insights on how researchers and communication specialists can respond to changing policy climates to create windows of opportunity for influence.
PMCID: PMC3121133  PMID: 21679383
5.  Loss of Function of E-Cadherin in Embryonic Stem Cells and the Relevance to Models of Tumorigenesis 
Journal of Oncology  2010;2011:352616.
E-cadherin is the primary cell adhesion molecule within the epithelium, and loss of this protein is associated with a more aggressive tumour phenotype and poorer patient prognosis in many cancers. Loss of E-cadherin is a defining characteristic of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process associated with tumour cell metastasis. We have previously demonstrated an EMT event during embryonic stem (ES) cell differentiation, and that loss of E-cadherin in these cells results in altered growth factor response and changes in cell surface localisation of promigratory molecules. We discuss the implication of loss of E-cadherin in ES cells within the context of cancer stem cells and current models of tumorigenesis. We propose that aberrant E-cadherin expression is a critical contributing factor to neoplasia and the early stages of tumorigenesis in the absence of EMT by altering growth factor response of the cells, resulting in increased proliferation, decreased apoptosis, and acquisition of a stem cell-like phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3005858  PMID: 21197469

Results 1-5 (5)