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New gene editing tools force renewed debate over therapeutic germline alteration

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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IMAGE: Human Gene Therapy, the official journal of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, French Society of Cell and Gene... view more

Credit: ©Mary Ann Liebert Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, May 1, 2015--Recent evidence demonstrating the feasibility of using novel CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology to make targeted changes in the DNA of human embryos is forcing researchers, clinicians, and ethicists to revisit the highly controversial issue of altering the inherited human genome. A provocative Editorial exploring the current technical limitations, safety concerns, and moral acceptability of therapeutic germline gene editing is published in Human Gene Therapy, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Human Gene Therapy website until May 29th.

Terence R. Flotte, MD, Incoming Editor-in-Chief (July 2015) of Human Gene Therapy, Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education and Dean, Provost, and Executive Deputy Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Medical School, highlights the safety and efficacy issues associated with the current generation of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology.

In the Editorial "Therapeutic Germline Alteration: Has CRISPR/Cas9 Technology Forced the Question?" Dr. Flotte asks, "If and (more likely when) modifications of CRISPR/Cas9 overcome its current limitations, would society find it acceptable to treat a genetic disease in a manner that could be inherited?" Although the NIH's Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee does not support research involving germline alterations, "it may be necessary to more explicitly clarify guidelines on performing gene editing experiments in non-viable and pre-viable human embryos," proposes Dr. Flotte.

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About the Journal

Human Gene Therapy, the official journal of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, French Society of Cell and Gene Therapy, German Society of Gene Therapy, and five other gene therapy societies, is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly in print and online. Led by Editor-in-Chief James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, Director of the Gene Therapy Program, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Human Gene Therapy presents reports on the transfer and expression of genes in mammals, including humans. Related topics include improvements in vector development, delivery systems, and animal models, particularly in the areas of cancer, heart disease, viral disease, genetic disease, and neurological disease, as well as ethical, legal, and regulatory issues related to the gene transfer in humans. Its sister journals, Human Gene Therapy Methods, published bimonthly, focuses on the application of gene therapy to product testing and development, and Human Gene Therapy Clinical Development, published quarterly, features data relevant to the regulatory review and commercial development of cell and gene therapy products. Tables of contents for all three publications and a free sample issue may be viewed on the Human Gene Therapy website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Nucleic Acid Therapeutics, Tissue Engineering, Stem Cells and Development, and Cellular Reprogramming. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

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