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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Association of Health Care Journalists Meeting Features Hastings Center Experts – The Hastings Center (April 2017)

Published/Released on July 25, 2017 | Posted by Admin on July 6, 2017 / , , ,
 


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The Hastings Center teamed up with the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) to create three sessions on gene editing for its annual meeting in Orlando on April 20. In addition, Hastings Center research scholar Nancy Berlinger was a panelist on a session concerning health care for refugees and undocumented immigrants, which took place on April 22.

AHCJ is a professional association of 1,500 journalists who cover health care. The gene editing sessions drew on expertise from The Hastings Center’s project on gene editing and human flourishing, which is supported by the John Templeton Foundation. A new gene editing technique, CRISPR-Cas9, has radically simplified our ability to change genomes and, thus, holds enormous potential for improving human health. But it also raises profound ethical questions, especially if it is used to alter the human germline – sperm, eggs, and embryos – and make changes that can be passed down from one generation to the next, or to enhance human traits.

The first session was a primer on gene editing, moderated by Dina Fine Maron, an editor at Scientific American. Chao-Ting Wu, a geneticist at Harvard, began with an overview of the science and then identified the gene editing therapies currently being tested – one for lung cancer and another for a form of blindness — and others that are in the works. “Germline gene editing therapy is on the horizon,” she said.

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