Meeting summary of Paris human gene editing workshop

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).Caroline Simons

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.

Académie Nationale de Médicine

Académie Nationale de Médicine, Credit Caroline Simons

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.

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Big stem cell news: dynamic duo of all-chemical direct reprogramming reports

There’s some big, positive news on the stem cell front today.

Two new innovative papers both by teams led by Sheng Ding of Gladstone Institutes with UCSF report all-chemical direct reprogramming of human somatic cells. Ding’s team took skin cells and by exposing them to cocktails of small molecules was able to turn them directly into precursors for heart muscle and neural cells. The two direct reprogramming papers were published in Science here and in Cell Stem Cell hereThe former paper is Cao, et al. and the latter is Zhang, et al. These reports together are a very big deal.

Neurons created from ciNSC

Neurons made from chemically-induced neural precursors. Credit: Mingliang Zhang, Gladstone Institutes

It’s been almost a decade since Shinya Yamanaka first reported the creation of mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC) using a cocktail of four factors and only one year later, he and others reported the creation of human IPSC.

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Perspectives on Vatican Stem Cell Meeting: CIRM, Embryonic & Adult Stem Cells

Over the years, the Vatican has expressed interest and even invested money in the adult stem cell field. Not surprisingly, they’ve also been critical of embryonic stem cell research.

Vatican stem cell meeting

Interestingly their own stem cell meetings have at times stimulated heated debate for various reasons and one was even cancelled with at least part of the reason related to embryonic stem cell research.

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Scoop on this week’s Paris human gene editing/genetic modification meetings

This week there will be two meetings in Paris as part of the ongoing international dialogue on human genetic modification/human gene editing, CRISPR, and figuring out a wise path forward.

Paris CRISPR Meeting

A one-day workshop will be held on April 28th “jointly organised by the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM), the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the French Academy of Medicine; with kind support from the InterAcademy Partnership for Health and the French Academy Foundation. It will be held at the French Academy of Medicine in Paris.”

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If you’ve had a stem cell treatment, how was your experience?

stem cell treatments

Have you had a stem cell treatment and if so, what was your experience like?

I really value the diversity of readers on this blog from all over the world. I know we have a lot of readers who are patients and have had stem cell treatments. Every week I get emails from people asking about stem cell treatments and clinics.

I encourage you to weigh in here in the comments if you or a loved have had a stem cell treatment. What was it like? If it was positive, why did you feel that way? Same if it was negative.

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