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What We’re Reading

July 17, 2021 • Posted in Blog

www.CartoonStock.com  

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D. Distinguished Fellow

Medically assisted deaths rose by 17% in 2020, continuing upward trend: Health Canada

By Joan Bryden The Canadian Press Posted June 8, 2021 1:01 am

I have several concerns about this situation:

For Health Canada, the government health service, to provide access to P-AS is a financial conflict of interest. Medicalized suicide should not be in the hands of those who hold the purse strings. Pain is manageable but other forms of suffering are not best treated with analgesics. True palliative care must address all forms of suffering. Medicine should not be coopted by the P-AS ...read more

Statement on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing

November 2, 2019 • Posted in Blog
The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture responds to the Public Call for Evidence for the International Commission* on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing

 

Given that According to the canons of research on children, experiments are only ethically justified when there are clear benefits to that individual child and proportional burdens to that child. Risks and burdens beyond truly “minimal” to individual children are not justified to benefit other children. To do so is to treat one child as a means to another child’s ends (i.e., to instrumentalize that child).

 

Whereas Human germline genome editing is experimentation on embryonic humans who cannot give consent, ...read more

A Moratorium on Heritable Human Genome Editing: Illusory or Real?

May 31, 2019 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

In March, 2019, Nature published a commentary penned by Eric Lander, Françoise Baylis, Feng Zhang, Emmanuelle Charpentier, and Paul Berg, and signed by 13 other notables. The name of the commentary is “Adopt a moratorium on heritable genome editing.” This document requires analysis.

First, some definitions are needed. A moratorium is defined as a “suspension of activity,” or “an authorized period of delay or waiting.” Heritable means “capable of being passed from one generation to the next.” Additionally, clinical can refer to a “scientifically detached” attitude or “the observation and treatment of patients directly.” Each of ...read more

A Book for (Y)our Time – A Review

March 28, 2019 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

Reading Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene: An Intimate History (NY, NY: Scribner, 2016; paperback, 2017) is to take a 150+ year print journey with an English-speaking physician and scientist, who is also a renaissance man. Mukherjee, an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for his non-fiction work, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. I have not read that earlier work, but have spent time delving into The Gene.

The Gene: An Intimate History begins with the author’s 2012 trip to Calcutta with his father to visit a ...read more

What Say You?

December 18, 2018 • Posted in Blog

Update: See the bottom of this post for the National Institutes of Health’s response to our letter. 

An Open Letter to Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. Director National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, Maryland 20892 [email protected]

17 December 2018

Dear Dr. Collins:

The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture lauds the position of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as evidenced by your concluding statement of 28 November 2018: “NIH does not support the use of gene-editing technologies in human embryos.” As embryonic humans represent the most vulnerable amongst our species, the ...read more

The Rubicon

July 30, 2018 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

The law in the Roman Republic in 49 B.C. was very clear about an army crossing a small stream outside Rome: it was considered an act of war. Julius Caesar knew this, and led his 13th Legion across that stream, declaring, in the historian Suetonius’ words, “The die is cast!” Caesar and his army did not turn back, but continued on to war, and ultimately defeated Pompey the Great. This turning point in history is referenced whenever we talk about approaching a point of no return and utter the phrase, “crossing the Rubicon.”

“The Rubicon” sculpture ...read more

It Has Arrived: Gene Editing Recommendations Published

February 28, 2017 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

The committee appointed to advise our government regarding the editing of genes, including editing the genes of the human embryo, has published a draft report (see the title page screen shot above). We at The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture are studying the document’s 261 pages, and have a few caveats to share with our readers. Germline gene editing was given cautious approval by the committee:

Heritable germline genome editing trials must be approached with caution, but caution does not mean they must be prohibited. (p. 102)

and

If the technical challenges are ...read more

CRISPR — Who’s in Charge? (Part IV)

November 30, 2016 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

This is part IV of our report. View part I, part II, or part III.

The ability to edit genes using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has been in the news for more than a year. A committee has been appointed to advise our government regarding the editing of genes, particularly editing the genes of the human embryo.

Who are the members of that committee? What are their views? The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture has been working to gather information for you, our readers.

Here is a brief look at some of the writings and organizational ...read more

CRISPR — Who’s in Charge? (Part III)

October 29, 2016 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

This is part III of our report. View part I, part II, or part IV.

The ability to edit genes using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has been in the news for more than a year. A committee has been appointed to advise our government regarding the editing of genes, particularly editing the genes of the human embryo.

Who are the members of that committee? What are their views? The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture has been working to gather information for you, our readers.

Here is a brief look at some of the writings and organizational ...read more

CRISPR — Who’s in Charge? (Part II)

September 30, 2016 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

This is part II of our report. View part I, part III, or part IV.

The ability to edit genes using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has been in the news for more than a year. A committee has been appointed to advise our government regarding the editing of genes, particularly editing the genes of the human embryo.

Who are the members of that committee? What are their views? The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture has been working to gather information for you, our readers.

Here is a brief look at some of the writings and organizational ...read more