This week the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) published a report on ‘Human genome editing in the EU’, summarising a joint workshop held on 28 April 2016 by the Academy, FEAM and the French National Academy of Medicine.
This one-day workshop, held at the French Academy of Medicine in Paris, was co-Chaired by Professor Pierre Jouannet and Dr Robin Lovell-Badge FMedSci, and provided the opportunity to explore the landscape for human genome editing across the EU. It brought together approximately 100 delegates from across Europe, the United States and elsewhere, including representatives from academia, research, funding agencies, industry, regulators and wider European authorities.
The meeting explored current scientific activities in the EU involving human genome editing, the regulatory landscape currently regulating these activities, and ongoing societal and political debates across the EU on this topic. These discussions focused on three key applications of genome editing: in basic research, in clinical research and applications in human somatic cells, and in clinical research and applications in human germline cells, and considered areas where there were significant differences between countries.
Delegates of the workshop were optimistic regarding the development of an EU-wide consensus on the clinical use of genome editing in somatic cells, but clearly divergent views between individual EU Member States were apparent on the acceptability of using genome editing in germ cells and embryos. However, delegates also commonly acknowledged the need for increased engagement of patients and wider society in order to promote a better understanding of the future potential benefits of genome editing. In addition, the need to develop a shared language, including common definitions, was identified.
This report follows a background document, 'The European landscape for human genome editing’, which was developed in preparation for the workshop and provides additional information on both the current state of regulations and the ongoing debates in the EU with respect to human genome editing. To download the workshop report and background document, and for more information on the Academy’s other activities focused on genome editing, please visit our Genome Editing policy page.