SOURCE: Alliance for Regenerative Medicine

Alliance for Regenerative Medicine

June 02, 2015 09:00 ET

The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine Issues Position Statement Regarding Human Embryo Germline Genome Editing

ARM Strongly Supports Somatic (Non-Reproductive) Cell Genome Editing Approaches to Treat and Potentially Cure Human Disease, but Issues Highly Cautionary Language Regarding Modification of Human Germline Cells

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Jun 2, 2015) - The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM), the international organization representing the regenerative medicine and advanced therapies community, today released its position statement regarding human germline modification.

ARM's position is that it is neither appropriate nor acceptable to pursue this kind of research at this time, given the highly premature stage of germline modification technology and the many scientific and ethical issues that surround it. The statement emphasizes that this field of research is controversial and its impact on future generations, both long- and short-term, remain unproven.

"There exists at present too great a possibility for unintended consequences, with too many safety and ethical unknowns to consider this research appropriate at this time," said Edward Lanphier, ARM chairman and president and CEO of Sangamo BioSciences.

In the statement, ARM calls for a voluntary moratorium to provide an opportunity for dialogue within the wider scientific community, to examine the safety and ethical implications of this technology's use on the human germline. ARM had previously articulated a number of these points in its March 2015 commentary piece in Nature.

Recently, numerous other agencies and organizations have released similar statements, consistent with ARM's position and desired next steps, including:

  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a statement declaring that it will not fund this kind of research.

  • The National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine announced an initiative and international summit devoted to exploring the scientific, ethical and policy issues of human gene editing.

  • The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a statement in support of continued scientific debate and discussion, noting the serious implications of genetically altered humans.

Numerous countries worldwide reject, discourage and even prohibit research involving the modification of the human germline.

The statement provides that gene-editing technologies such as zinc-finger nucleases, CRISPR-Cas9 and TALEN-based methods are powerful approaches for targeting and changing human DNA sequences. ARM strongly supports somatic (non-reproductive) cell genome editing technology and its potential to treat and possibly cure many human diseases, including HIV/AIDS, hemophilia, sickle cell disease and several forms of cancer. These applications do not involve genetic modification of human embryos or human reproductive cells.

ARM's full position statement is available on its website.

About The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine

The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) is an international multi-stakeholder advocacy organization that promotes legislative, regulatory and reimbursement initiatives necessary to facilitate access to life-giving advances in regenerative medicine worldwide. ARM also works to increase public understanding of the field and its potential to transform human healthcare, providing business development and investor outreach services to support the growth of its member companies and research organizations. Prior to the formation of ARM in 2009, there was no advocacy organization operating in Washington, D.C. to specifically represent the interests of the companies, research institutions, investors and patient groups that comprise the entire regenerative medicine community. Today, ARM has more than 220 members and is the leading global advocacy organization in this field. To learn more about ARM or to become a member, visit http://www.alliancerm.org.

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