|February 15, 2017|
Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH, Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, appears regularly on WYPR’s Midday show with Tom Hall to discuss pressing ethics issues related to current scientific and technological advances. Here is an archive of his appearances on the show:
February 15, 2017
Genome editing, that is the ability to make additions, deletions, and alterations to the genome of a human or animal, is not a new. Scientists have been experimenting with it in labs for a while to better understand the way some diseases and disabilities work. But now a new report released yesterday from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine sets international guidelines for genome editing. New editing tools like CRISPR have opened up the doors for more lab and clinical research projects. The scientists behind the report hope their guidelines will serve as a roadmap to help other scientists avoid the ethical concerns associated with gene editing.
January 24, 2017
Some people call it “assisted suicide.” Others prefer the terms “death with dignity,” “aid to the dying,” or “the right to die.” Whatever the label, nearly 20 percent of Americans now live in places where it’s legal. Washington, DC is one of those places. Maryland is not. Should it be?
December 15, 2016
Every scientific advancement comes with a slew of questions. Take autonomous cars, for example. In an accident, whose lives should a driverless vehicle be programmed to protect? Passengers in the car, or people on the street? The field of bioethics addresses the complicated ethical dilemmas that researchers and policy makers face in an ever-changing modern world.
October 13, 2016
We thought we’d start by talking about the public health issue that has dominated the headlines since this summer. The Zika virus grabbed the public health spotlight and spread like crazy in certain parts of the world, including an outbreak that has been controlled in the Miami area. One of the approaches to eliminating the virus that scientists are considering involves genetically modifying mosquitoes and then releasing them into the environment. On the surface, it may seem that changing the genetic make-up of some insects shouldn’t be cause for alarm. But like so many of the issues that Jeff Kahn and his colleagues consider, it’s not that simple.
Dr. Kahn also weighs in on the topic of babies now being born with more than two biological parents. They actually carry the genetic material of three parents. To the parents who otherwise might not have biological children, the technology that makes this possible is a blessing. But is it a good idea? What are the consequences of these new possibilities? Tom asks Dr. Kahn about framing the questions we should be asking in bioethics, to find the answers we need.