ICGEB at the OECD Expert Meeting on Gene editing for advanced therapies

The 1.5-day OECD expert meeting “Gene editing for advanced therapies: governance, policy, and society” discussed governance mechanisms for the responsible use of gene editing in somatic cells for the purpose of promoting human health. The expert meeting was organised under the auspices of the OECD Working Party on Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies (BNCT). It was hosted by the Federal Ministry of Education, BMBF, in Berlin, Germany

Gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9 and comparable methods offers great promise for better understanding, diagnosing and treating diseases and conditions. A number of promising applications are already entering research and therapy. At the same time, the trajectory of these disruptive tools and their uptake in the clinic remain unclear due to uncertainties in the scientific, regulatory, and economic landscapes. Policy makers, researchers and the public are confronted with new regulatory, ethical and social questions around the development and implementation of gene editing technologies and applications. Implications of gene editing in the human germline are discussed in other fora and were not in the scope of this meeting. 

The purpose of the expert meeting was to explore the core scientific, legal, regulatory and societal challenges facing the responsible development and use of gene editing in somatic cells for advanced therapies, such as regenerative medicine, cell therapy, and precision medicine. International stakeholders have started identifying where new forms of collaboration across science and society may help to promote a reasonable balance of risk and benefit in personalised health and well-being. 

Dr. Serena Zacchigna who attended the meeting on behalf of ICGEB, heads the Cardiovascular Biology Lab in Trieste.


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