Plans for a new global registry on human genome editing have been announced.
A World Health Organization (WHO) expert advisory committee has approved the first phase of the new registry to track research on human genome editing using the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). This phase will include somatic and germline clinical trials. The committee is calling for all relevant research and development initiatives to register.
The WHO says that in order to ensure that the registry is fit for purpose and transparent, the 18-member committee will engage with a broad range of stakeholders on how it will operate.
The committee was first established in December 2018 and met for the second time last week. Addressing the meeting, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General, stressed countries should not allow any further work on human germline genome editing in human clinical applications until the technical and ethical implications have been properly considered. “New genome editing technologies hold great promise and hope for those who suffer from diseases we once thought untreatable. But some uses of these technologies also pose unique and unprecedented challenges - ethical, social, regulatory and technical,” he said.