Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
Participation project calls for relaxing research ban on germline interventions

Participation project calls for relaxing research ban on germline interventions

Are genetic defects allowed to be repaired by intervening with sperm or egg cells, or even human embryos? Thanks to genetic scissors such as CRISPR/Cas, such interventions in the germline could soon become a medical reality. In the participation project “Citizens’ Delphi Germline Therapy at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), citizens have been focusing on the risks and benefits of germline interventions. In the final report of the project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, they now call for relaxing the research ban and coordinated international regulation.

Mitochondrial transfer is a medical intervention that helps mothers with a mitochondrial disease to have a healthy child – with three genetic parents. This therapy was approved by the British Parliament in February 2015, attracting worldwide attention. Of course, all parents want a healthy child, but germline therapies such as mitochondrial transfer and other interventions in eggcell, sperm or embryo are controversial because not only individuals, but also all subsequent generations are affected by the consequences. In Germany, there is a comprehensive ban on all forms of germline therapies, which also applies to fundamental research. However, owing to all the different international legal situations and the emergence of genetic scissors which greatly simplify genetic programming, clarification and action are urgently required. But no broad social debate has taken place in Germany yet.

In this context, KIT carried out the “Citizens’ Delphi Germline Therapy” project. From April to July 2018, 26 participants thought about and debated the difficult issues arising from permanent intervention in the human genome. “We wanted to ignite a debate with citizens about this new biological technology,” says communication consultant Dr Ralf Grötker, who developed and carried out the citizens’ Delphi in collaboration with the Department of Science Communication at the Institute for German Studies at KIT. This participation process is a new format which combines aspects of a Ctizens’ Jury with aspects of the Delphi survey method, an accompanied multi-stage survey process including systematic feedback. “The process is geared towards working on a complex topic with a group of laypeople, empower them to make an informed judgment, and eventually reach recommendations for politicians,” says Grötker.

The final report of the project has now been presented during Berlin Science Week. In terms of future legal regulation of germline therapy, the majority of participants are arguing in favor of relaxing the existing ban on fundamental research into germline therapy in Germany. This way, the participants argued, the country could play a more active role in international regulations. At the same time, participants are backing a call on the federal government and the German Bundestag to support internationally binding rules on possible germline interventions in people. The opportunities germline therapy can provide medium- to long-term were rated as moderately to clearly relevant. Unknown and biological risks of germline interventions were considered relevant especially for use in therapy, but not so much in relation to the decision on whether to allow fundamental research. Abuse of germline therapy (in the form of overstepping legally agreed rules or in the form of political instrumentalization) was considered highly likely. Participants thought that an expansion from social to genetic inequality – for example through erasing defects in the genetic material via paid germline intervention – is a probable development. They were almost unanimously opposed to options of such genetic enhancements.

“In the future, science will raise more and more difficult issues of this kind,” says Professor Annette Leβmöllman from the Institute for German Studies who initiated the “Citizens’ Delphi Germline Therapy” project. “It’s important that citizens have the option of joining in the discussions and that they also make use of this option. After all, they are the ones to influence political decisions with their votes or citizens’ initiatives.” Experience with the citizens’ Delphi showed that laypeople are more than capable of taking up a competent standpoint if they are adequately informed. A key result of the project in this context is also an appeal to the scientific community to provide better insights into current research and easily understandable information.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles