Human Genetic Engineering Ethics

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As disruptive technologies such as gene, RNA, and cell therapy enable scientists to approach diseases in new ways, medicine is undergoing a major transformation. The pace of this change is driven by innovations such as CRISPR gene editing, which makes it possible to quickly correct DNA errors.

Developments in this field are so rapid that it is difficult to communicate around potential ethical, social, and safety issues.

Human Genetic Engineering Ethics

Human Genetic Engineering Ethics

This disconnect was brought into sharp relief at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong in November, when exciting updates about emerging therapies were overshadowed by an ominous note. Chinese researcher He Jiankui says he edited the genes of two human embryos and they changed.

Ethics Of Genetic Engineering In The 21st Century — Probe Magazine

There was an immediate outcry from scientists around the world, and he faced intense social pressure, including the removal of his fellowship for allegedly disregarding ethical standards and the safety of his patients.

But I. Glenn Cohen, faculty director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, said gene editing comes in many forms, with many consequences. Any serious discussion of ethics must take these differences into account.

He claims germline editing is different from the somatic gene therapies that are now redefining the frontiers of medicine. While somatic gene editing affects only the patient being treated (and only some of his cells), germline editing affects all cells of the organism, including eggs and sperm, and is therefore passed on to future generations. Its possible consequences are difficult to predict.

Somatic gene therapies involve altering a patient’s DNA to treat or cure a disease caused by a genetic mutation. In one clinical trial, for example, scientists took blood stem cells from a patient, used CRISPR techniques to correct a genetic mutation that caused them to produce defective blood cells, then injected the “correct” cells back into the patient, where they could reproduce. Healthy hemoglobin. . The treatment changes the patient’s blood cells, but not his sperm or eggs.

The Ethical Dilemma Of Genetic Engineering

Germline human genome editing, on the other hand, alters the genome of a human embryo in its early stages. It can affect every cell, meaning it affects not only the affected person, but possibly their offspring as well. Therefore, there are many restrictions on its use.

Editing the dish’s germline could help researchers determine what health benefits it might have and how to minimize the risks. Those include targeting the wrong genes; off-target effects, where editing one gene may cure one problem but cause another; and mosaicism, where only a few copies of a gene change. For these and other reasons, the scientific community approaches germline editing with caution, and the U.S. And many other countries have substantial policy and regulatory restrictions on the use of germline editing of the human genome.

But many scientific leaders are asking: If the benefits outweigh the risks and the risks are believed to be negligible, should science continue to consider editing the germline genome to improve human health? If the answer is yes, how can researchers do this responsibly?

Human Genetic Engineering Ethics

Feng Zhang, a CRISPR pioneer at Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute, immediately responded to the November announcement by calling for a ban on transplanting edited embryos into humans. Later, in a public event on “Reshaping the Human Genome” at the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), he explained why it was important to wait:

Genetic Engineering: Promises & Perils

“The moratorium is a pause. Society needs to know that we all want to do this, if it’s good for society, and it will take time. If we do, we need to have guidelines first so that the person doing this can move forward. Responsible manner, with proper management and quality control.

Professors from the university’s schools of medicine, law, business and government saw his announcement as a turning point in the debate about heritable gene therapies and shared their thoughts on the technology’s future in the Gazette.

Apart from security risks, human genome editing raises many ethical questions. For families who have seen their children suffer from devastating genetic diseases, the technology offers hope for editing out violent mutations from the gene pool. For those living in poverty, it’s just another way to get ahead for the privileged. Given the diverse characteristics of conditions such as deafness, an open question is where to draw the line between treatment and development of the disease and how to implement it.

“This question is not new. Evolution occurs through random mutations in the genome, which is very unlikely to happen artificially with CRISPR. These random mutations often cause serious problems, and people are born with serious defects. Also, we manipulate. Our environment in many ways and our exposes itself to many chemicals that cause unknown changes in the genome. If we are concerned about appropriate interventions to cure disease, we should be concerned with that as well.

World’s First Genetically Modified Human Embryo Raises Ethical Concerns

“For me, the conversation around Dr. He is not about the fundamental merits of germline gene editing, which will certainly be very useful in the long run. Rather, it is about the management of science. The concern is that with technologies. Easy to use like CRISPR, how scientific Does the community regulate itself? If there is a silver lining to this cloud, I think the scientific community is coming together to criticize this work, and take seriously the responsibility to use the tools available to them to regulate themselves.

When asked what the implications of his announcement are for the emerging field of precision medicine, Richard Hammaresh, faculty co-chair of the Harvard Business School/Crafts Precision Medicine Accelerator, said:

“Before we start working with embryos, we still have a long way to go, and civilization needs to think about it a lot. There is no question that gene editing techniques can disrupt – or and the most precise medicine. If you can do it properly . Correct or delete genes that cause problems – mutations or offending genes – this is the end of precision. This is very revolutionary for people with diseases caused by gene mutations such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. Developing safe, effective ways to use genes. Known Edits to treat people with serious illnesses without treatment have so much potential to ease suffering that it’s hard to see how anyone could resist them.

Human Genetic Engineering Ethics

“There is also commercial potential and this will drive it forward. Many companies have received commercial funding for interesting gene therapies, but they all pursue difficult medical conditions where there is unmet need – [where] no one is working – and they are trying .Find Gene Therapies to Cure Diseases .. Why should we stop looking for cures?

Reasons To Say No To Genetically Modified Humans

“But anything where you replace a human embryo, it’s going to take time for us to know what’s appropriate and what’s not. It should be done with caution in terms of ethics.”

George Q. Daly is Dean of HMS, Carolyn Shields Walker Professor of Medicine, and Leader of Stem Cell Science and Cancer Biology. As spokesperson for the organizing committee of the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, he immediately responded to her announcement in Hong Kong. Echoing those words, he said:

“It’s time to form what the clinical translation pathway looks like so we can talk about it. That doesn’t mean we’re ready to go to the clinic—we’re not. We need to specify what the barriers are when one moves. Accountability and Move forward ethically. If you can’t overcome obstacles, you can’t move forward.

“There is a clear difference between editing genes in an embryo to prevent a child from being born with sickle cell anemia and editing genes to change the appearance or intelligence of future generations. Our final decision not to proceed involves, that we decide that the benefits do not outweigh the costs.”

The Ethics Of Genetic Engineering (routledge Annals Of Bioethics): 9780415887915: Medicine & Health Science Books @

“For the past 15 years, I have been involved in trying to establish international standards of professional conduct for stem cell research and its clinical translation, knowing that there is – and has been – an increasing number of independent physicians who sell directly without certification. Intervention of vulnerable patients via the Internet. We strongly advocate for professional standards to prevent the risk of an unregulated industry. Although imperfect, our efforts to encourage a common set of professional practices are impressive.

“You can’t control bad scientists in any field. But strictly defined guidelines for responsible professional conduct, such as ethical violations by Dr.

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