International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing (Meeting)

Policy Details

Policy Details

Last Action
Commission convened for first meeting
Date of Last Action
Aug 12 2019
Date Introduced
Aug 12 2019
Publication Date
Aug 15 2019

SciPol Summary

Building upon the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Medicine (NAM), and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom convened the first meeting of the International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing in Washington, DC on August 13, 2019. This Commission's formation is a direct consequence of the international controversy stemming from a Chinese scientist's claims of successfully having edited the genomes of human embryos that eventually were born. 

This first meeting focused on identifying scientific, societal, and ethical issues pertaining to the potential clinical applications of human germline genome editing. Speakers gave their expert input in translating pathways from laboratory to therapy from the perspectives of the scientific field, regulatory bodies, and potential patient communities.

Other tasks the Commission will discuss include identifying appropriate protocols to guide researchers, clinicians, and regulatory bodies as potential applications of germline genome editing technologies are being explored around the world. The Commission will hold a total of three meetings and will write a final report upon the conclusion of this series.

In a press release, NAM President Victor J. Dzau and Royal Society Vice-President John Skehel, co-chairs of the Commission’s International Oversight Board, said, "These revelations at the [Second International] summit in Hong Kong underscore the urgent need for an international accepted framework to help scientists, medical experts, and regulators address the complex scientific and medical issues surrounding clinical use of germline genome editing." 

The co-chairs additionally said, "We also welcome the formation of the World Health Organization [WHO]’s Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome Editing that will operate in parallel to our Commission.” This WHO meeting occurred on March 18 – 19, 2019. Though currently the US does not ban human germline editing, both the WHO and the International Commission hope to establish regulatory frameworks for governing bodies worldwide.

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