First, Do No Harm

September 21, 2017

Marshaling Clinician Leadership to Counter the Opioid Epidemic | A Special Publication from the National Academy of Medicine

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For the first time in human existence, it became practical to change genes throughout the entire human genome with high precision and accuracy. And today, a decade after the introduction of CRISPR, it’s newly apparent that such manipulations have been made to human embryos — a feat achieved by scientists at the Salk Institute in La Jolla and elsewhere

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The US FDA currently forbids any use outside of a research setting. But recent history has shown that people who want access to such techniques “can find people willing to perform them in venues where they’re able to do so,” said Jeffrey Kahn, who directs Johns Hopkins University’s Berman Institute of Bioethics. “It will happen whether we discuss it or not, and we need to talk about these things before they happen, That’s now.”

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“This is very elegant lab work,” but it’s moving so fast that society needs to catch up and debate how far it should go, said Johns Hopkins University bioethicist Jeffrey Kahn. And lots more research is needed to tell if it’s really safe, added Britain’s Lovell-Badge

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The ethical and practical debates over using the DNA-editing method CRISPR to alter human embryos just got less hypothetical. A week after the news leaked out, a US-based team has published the first rigorous demonstration that CRISPR can efficiently repair a gene defect in human embryos without introducing new mutations elsewhere. With comments from our Jeffrey Kahn

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If a peer-reviewed paper bears out the news story, “It’s one more step on the path to potential clinical application,” says bioethicist Jeffrey Kahn of Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, who served on a committee convened by the NASEM to address gene editing. The panel’s report earlier this year concluded that a clinical trial involving embryo editing would be ethically allowable under narrow circumstances.

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The National Academies of Science and Medicine (NASEM) released a report on Feb. 14 exploring the implications of new technologies that can alter the genome of living organisms, including humans

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Gene-Editing Gets A Go-Ahead

February 22, 2017

Those in the know call CRISPR “one of the greatest life science inventions ever.” It has revolutionized the ability to make precise changes to human DNA, opening the door to revolutionary ways to treat disease – but also to ethical questions about engineered designer babies. This hour On Point, the brave new world of human DNA editing and CRISPR. Guests include our Jeffrey Kahn

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