January 16, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

#GeneEditSummit

23 min read

Editor’s note. Caroline Simons attended both the April 28th (see her report on that here) and 29th Paris meetings on human gene editing/genetic modification. Today, we have her in depth report on the April 29th meeting. I have posted her piece in full with only minor edits. If you are in a rush you can skip to the last page for Caroline’s top 10 takeaways from the meeting. By Caroline Simons The meeting of NAS and NAM which took place in Paris on 29 …Read More

7 min read

Editors note: This is a guest post from Caroline Simons who is attending the two Paris meetings on human gene editing. For more background on those meetings see here. By Caroline Simons There were just over a hundred participants at the workshop organized by the Federation of European Academies of Medicine, the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the Académie Nationale de Médicine France. That number included experts in the fields of science, medicine, law and bioethics. They came from Europe, the US and …Read More

2 min read

GOP members of Congress want a ban on CRISPR of human embryos. They are moving to block genetic modification of human embryos using the new CRISPR gene editing technology. The new proposed spending bill part way through the approval process with the nugget of good news of a possible NIH spending boost after many years of losing ground against inflation, reportedly also contains language to block gene editing of apparently any human embryos even just for research. Update: More recent interpretations of the bill …Read More

2 min read

Both before and particularly now after the big human gene editing summit in Washington, D.C. at the National Academy of Sciences, I’ve talked with patients about their views on this new technology including at last week’s World Stem Cell Summit. One of the most striking moments of the DC summit was when the mother of a pediatric patient made the comment after a talk about human gene editing that if it could be helpful with genetic diseases, “just freakin do it!” A lot of …Read More

5 min read

I just got back from a historic summit on human genetic modification in Washington, D.C. New genetic modification technology, termed CRISPR-Cas9, has both made genetic modification a relatively simple matter for scientists and human genetic modification much more likely in the near future. Heritable human genetic modification could prevent some rare genetic diseases so there is real potential there, but it also could open the door to serious problems such as unforeseen health consequences across generations, social justice issues, and eugenics. Both potential positives …Read More

2 min read

Day 2 of the Human Gene Editing Summit in DC (#GeneEditSummit) was quite interesting and added more depth to the meeting overall. For specific talks, see my two posts from yesterday here and here. Also see my top takeaways from Day 1. What were the top highlights of Day 2 of #GeneEditSummit? Somatic work. We shouldn’t only focus on germline human genetic modifications even if that is the most explosive issue. Yesterday we heard about striking developments in the arena of somatic/adult gene editing …Read More

2 min read

Now we have an interesting panel starting on questions of governance on human gene editing. This will focus on institutional and national levels of governance. Pilar N. Ossorio, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Morgridge Institute for Research, is introducing the panel. Key question: how should emerging technologies being governed? Jonathan Kimmelman, from McGill, was the first speaker. How do we evaluate risk versus benefit with human genetic modification? Particularly how to answer this question in the context of clinical trials? Benefit should be defined as …Read More

2 min read

The Summit on Human Gene Editing got off to a great start yesterday. I have four posts summarizing all the talks and my impressions on the points made (here, here, here, and here). What was the overall gestalt including from talking to people informally? What were the big takeaway messages so far from Day 1? Diverse views. There are widely variant views on human genetic modification amongst the speakers. These range from “hell no” to “yes, now” and everything in between. So far that diversity of …Read More

2 min read

This is post #4 of my live blogging of the #GeneEditSummit today. It is focused on societal implications so I’m really looking forward to it. You can read posts 1-3, here, here, and here summarizing the talks and key points from the meeting so far. Annelien L. Bredenoord, University Medical Center Utrecht, chaired the session. John Harris, University of Manchester, is a philosopher and invoked Plato early in his talk. He raised 3 fallacious (in his opinion) objections to gene editing: gene editing may affect future …Read More