The World Health Organisation’s expert advisory committee has given nod for the first phase of a global registry to track research on human genome editing. This development comes after the UN’s international public health monitor sought to address the ethical and regulatory challenges surrounding promising new technologies to address gene based treatments.
WHO’s director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “New genome editing technologies hold great promise and hope for those who suffer from diseases we once thought were untreatable.” “ But they also pose unique ethical, social, regulatory and technical challenges,” he said.
He also said that countries should not allow any further work on human germline genome editing in human clinical applications until the technical and ethical implications had been properly considered.
Approving the committee’s recommendation, WHO has now announced plans for an initial phase of the registry using the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP).
“This phase will include somatic and germline clinical trials. In order to ensure that the registry is fit for purpose and transparent, the committee will engage with a broad range of stakeholders on how it will operate,” the WHO said in the release.
The expert committee constituting of 18 members also announced an online consultation on the governance of genome editing.
The expert committee called on all relevant research and development initiatives to register their trials. To enhance the development of a global governance framework for human genome editing, the committee will undertake both online consultations and in-person engagement.