WHO Expert Panel on Human Gene Editing a ‘Very Good Step,’ says Georgetown Medical Ethicist

Medical ethicist Daniel Sulmasy, MD, PhD

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Karen Teber

WASHINGTON (December 14, 2018) — Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it is establishing a “global multi-disciplinary expert panel to examine the scientific, ethical, social and legal challenges associated with human gene editing.”

The announcement follows a Chinese scientist’s claim that he performed genetic editing to create twin girls who are resistant to HIV — the first known case of humans undergoing genetic editing before birth.

Georgetown medical ethicist Daniel Sulmasy, MD, PhD, commends the WHO effort, describing the announcement as a “very good step.”

“Contemporary science is a globalized enterprise and can’t be regulated merely by enacting a patchwork of national laws. International ethical standards have become a necessity.”

Sulmasy is a member of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center and serves as acting director of Georgetown’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics.

To interview Sulmasy, please contact Karen Teber at km463@georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic health and science center with a four-part mission of research, teaching, service and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. Connect with GUMC on Facebook (Facebook.com/GUMCUpdate) and Twitter (@gumedcenter). Connect with Georgetown University School of Medicine on Facebook (Facebook.com/somgeorgetown), Twitter (@gumedicine) and Instagram (@GeorgetownMedicine).