Editors note: This is a guest post from Caroline Simons who is attending the two Paris meetings on human gene editing. For more background on those meetings see here.
By Caroline Simons
There were just over a hundred participants at the workshop organized by the Federation of European Academies of Medicine, the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the Académie Nationale de Médecine France. That number included experts in the fields of science, medicine, law and bioethics. They came from Europe, the US and China (and, I think I may have heard, Russia).
Some were engaged in active research, others represented national academies, policy making bodies, patients, research funders and industry. I noted one participant from the US represented DARPA, a reminder that gene-editing technologies may have harmful as well as therapeutic applications. There were about a dozen journalists, of whom two may cover this event in English – Anna McKie of Research Fortnight and Oliver Moody of The Times.
The aim of the workshop was to consider current scientific activities in the European Union (EU) regarding genome editing and the regulatory landscape across the EU member states for this research and its clinical application in humans. The stated intention was to foster discussion between experts, provide information to the public and stakeholders and to consider whether an EU regulatory framework to govern the safe and acceptable use of human genome editing is desirable, and how it could be achieved. There were no agreed conclusions or recommendations from this workshop, but many interesting presentations and observations. A paper which will draw on the workshop discussions is to be published.