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International Summit on Human Gene Editing

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Jennifer Balsbaugh

on 29 March 2017

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Transcript of International Summit on Human Gene Editing

Clinical Use: Germline
Gene editing might also be used, in principle, to make genetic alterations in gametes or embryos, which will be carried by all cells of a resulting child and will be passed on to subsequent generations as part of the human gene pool.
Can we do this now?
At present, these criteria have not been met for any proposed clinical use:
the safety issues have not been adequately explored
the cases of most compelling benefit are limited
many nations have bans on germline modification, including the US
What do we do?
After three days of thoughtful disscussion of these issues, the members of the Organizing Committee for the International Summit on Human Gene Editing have reached the following conclusions.
Clinical Use: Somatic
Many promising and valuable clinical applications of gene editing are directed at altering genetic sequences only in somatic cells - that is, cells whose genomes are not transmitted to the next generation.
Editing genes for sickle-cell anemia in blood cells
Improving ability of immune cells to target cancer
International Summit on Human Gene Editing

Examples that have been proposed range from avoidance of severe inherited diseases to "enhancement" of human capabilities.

Possible Issues?
risks of inaccurate editing
difficulty predicting harmful effects
implications for individual and future generations
alterations would be difficult to remove
"enhancements" could exacerbate social inequities or be used coercively
moral and ethical considerations
Reason for Summit
Research has led to powerful new techniques that make it possible to perform gene editing - that is, precisely altering genetic sequences - in living cells, including those of humans, at much higher accuracy and efficiency than ever before possible.
Basic and Preclinical Research
Intensive basic and preclinical research is clearly needed and should proceed. If, in the process of research, early human embryos or germ line (sex) cells undergo gene editing, the modified cells should not be used to establish a pregnancy.
December 1-3, 2015
Washington, DC

There is a need to understand the risks and benefits of each proposed genetic modification.
Need for an Ongoing Forum
While each nation ultimately has the authority to regulate activities under its jurisdiction, the human genome is shared among all nations. The international community should strive to establish norms concerning acceptable use and to harmonize regulations, to discourage unacceptable activities.
Now What?
Create an ongoing international forum to discuss potential clinical uses of gene editing; help inform decisions by national policymakers and others; formulate recommendations and guidelines; and promote coordination among nations.

The forum should be inclusive among nations and engage a wide range of perspectives and expertise.
What do you think?
Full transcript