Breaking News
February 16, 2019 - Neuroscientists show how the brain responds to texture
February 16, 2019 - Gilead Announces Topline Data From Phase 3 STELLAR-4 Study of Selonsertib in Compensated Cirrhosis (F4) Due to Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
February 16, 2019 - What Can I Do About Sweating? (for Teens)
February 16, 2019 - Companies navigate dementia conversations with older workers
February 16, 2019 - Newly developed stem cell technologies show promise for treating PD patients
February 16, 2019 - Collaborative material research could advance self-assembling nanomaterials
February 16, 2019 - Researchers take major step in creating technology that mimics the human brain
February 16, 2019 - Erasing memories associated with cocaine use reduces drug seeking behavior
February 16, 2019 - Artificial intelligence can accurately predict prognosis of ovarian cancer patients
February 16, 2019 - Racial disparities in cancer deaths on the decline for America
February 16, 2019 - FDA authorizes new interoperable insulin pump for children, adults with diabetes
February 16, 2019 - Coexisting Medical Conditions, Smoking Explain PTSD-CVD Link
February 16, 2019 - Skin Cancer Screening: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
February 16, 2019 - ‘Happiness’ exercises can boost mood in those recovering from substance use disorder
February 16, 2019 - Cell manipulation could soon halt or reverse aging
February 16, 2019 - Pumped Breast Milk Falls Short of Breastfed Version
February 16, 2019 - Men’s porn habits could fuel partners’ eating disorders, study suggests
February 16, 2019 - Rapid progression of age-related diseases may result from formation of vicious cycles
February 16, 2019 - Immune checkpoint molecule protects against future development of cancer
February 16, 2019 - New method produces hydrogels that have properties similar to cells’ environment
February 16, 2019 - $4.1 million funding for heart research on Valentine’s Day
February 16, 2019 - General anesthesia in early infancy unlikely to have lasting effects on developing brains
February 16, 2019 - New breakthroughs for muscular dystrophy research
February 16, 2019 - First Opinion: Embryo editing for higher IQ is a fantasy. Embryo profiling for it is almost here
February 16, 2019 - Vapers develop cancer-related gene deregulation as cigarette smokers
February 16, 2019 - Bringing Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) to the Community
February 16, 2019 - Decolonization protocol after hospital discharge can prevent dangerous infections
February 16, 2019 - H-RT should be the standard of care for men with low risk prostate cancer, study shows
February 16, 2019 - New technique using patients’ own modified cells could help treat Crohn’s disease
February 16, 2019 - Therapeutic endoscopy has an expanding role in the treatment of IBD
February 16, 2019 - Blood clot discovery could lead to development of better treatments for blood diseases
February 16, 2019 - Intervention can increase exclusive breastfeeding rates
February 16, 2019 - New project explores how gaming technologies can help cancer patients communicate better
February 16, 2019 - Catalyst Biosciences Presents Updated Data from Its Phase 2/3 Trial of Subcutaneous Marzeptacog Alfa (Activated) in Individuals with Hemophilia A or B with Inhibitors at the 12th Annual EAHAD Congress
February 16, 2019 - Rerouting nerves during amputation reduces phantom limb pain before it starts
February 16, 2019 - A Hormone Produced When We Exercise Might Help Fight Alzheimer’s
February 16, 2019 - Millions of British people breathe toxic air travelling to GPs
February 16, 2019 - Conformance of genetic characteristics found to be crucial for longer preservation of kidney graft
February 16, 2019 - Researchers use optogenetic tool to control, visualize receptor signals in neural cells
February 16, 2019 - New reversible antiplatelet therapy could reduce risk of blood clots, prevent cancer metastasis
February 16, 2019 - Testosterone is not the only hormone needed for penis development
February 16, 2019 - FDA Advisory Committee Recommends Approval of Spravato (esketamine) Nasal Spray for Adults with Treatment-Resistant Depression
February 15, 2019 - Heart surgery technology developed at Baptist Health debuts after years of secrecy
February 15, 2019 - Prescription Opioids Double Risk of Triggering Fatal Car Crash
February 15, 2019 - New study helps doctors better understand high blood pressure in pregnant women
February 15, 2019 - Beta wave control in Parkinson’s diseased brain could be a potential therapy
February 15, 2019 - Media representations of love may justify gender-based violence in young people
February 15, 2019 - Yoga May Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms, Severity
February 15, 2019 - Obstructive sleep apnea linked to inflammation, organ dysfunction
February 15, 2019 - Master your mind: A challenge from WELL for Life
February 15, 2019 - Why Some Brain Tumors Respond to Immunotherapy
February 15, 2019 - Must-Reads Of The Week From Brianna Labuskes
February 15, 2019 - Researchers uncover novel mechanism and potential new therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s
February 15, 2019 - Genetic variations in a fourth gene associated with higher ALL risk in Hispanic children
February 15, 2019 - Disruptive behavioral problems in kindergarten linked with lower employment earnings in adulthood
February 15, 2019 - New bioengineered device enhances the production of T-cells
February 15, 2019 - HDL proteome behaves like a tiny Velcro ball that is rolling on surfaces
February 15, 2019 - Puerto Rican children more likely to have poor or decreasing use of asthma inhalers
February 15, 2019 - Quality of patient care does not improve after physician-hospital integration
February 15, 2019 - Synopsys release new software for implant design and patient-specific planning
February 15, 2019 - 6 out of 10 hip replacements last 25 years or longer
February 15, 2019 - Health Tip: What You Should Know About Antibiotics
February 15, 2019 - New research challenges medical consensus that adenoids and tonsils significantly shrink during teenage years
February 15, 2019 - Discovery of weakness in a rare cancer could be exploited with drugs
February 15, 2019 - UVA scientists find potential explanation for mysterious cell death in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s
February 15, 2019 - New rules requiring female athletes to lower testosterone levels are based on flawed data
February 15, 2019 - Researchers comprehensively sequence the human immune system
February 15, 2019 - Researchers study animal venoms to identify new medicines for treating diseases
February 15, 2019 - Movement of wrist bones revealed by MRI and computer modeling
February 15, 2019 - Philips introduces new premium digital X-ray room to help shorten patient wait times
February 15, 2019 - Women fare worse than men following aortic heart surgery, study finds
February 15, 2019 - High-protein and low-calorie diet helps older adults lose weight safely, shows study
February 15, 2019 - Drug microdosing effects may not measure up to big expectations
February 15, 2019 - Discharged, Dismissed: ERs Often Miss Chance To Set Overdose Survivors On ‘Better Path’
February 15, 2019 - A digitized lab environment to be showcased at smartLAB 2019
February 15, 2019 - Scientists uncover main mechanisms of fluconazole drug resistance
February 15, 2019 - New study seeks to understand how colibactin causes cancer
February 15, 2019 - Photoacoustic imaging accurately measures the temperature of deep tissues
February 15, 2019 - Large study finds no association between phthalate exposure and breast cancer risk
February 15, 2019 - New research explains presence of ‘natural’ magnetism in human cells
Participation project calls for relaxing research ban on germline interventions

Participation project calls for relaxing research ban on germline interventions

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

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