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This week at the Progress Educational Trust (26 July 2021)

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, Chair of Trustees at the Progress Educational Trustand member of the World Health Organisation's Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome EditingThe Progress Educational Trust (PET) has been involved in the publication and discussion of three new reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

PET's Chair of Trustees, Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, is a member of the Committee that produced these reports. PET also submitted responses to consultations that informed the reports.

Sarah Norcross, Director of the Progress Educational Trust PET's Director, Sarah Norcross, said:

'PET is delighted that the WHO sees the potential of genome editing to avoid, prevent, treat and cure disease, and has set out how to harness this fast-moving technology safely and ethically.

'The five "special challenges" and seven "scenarios" set out in the WHO's Framework for Governance are especially helpful, in working through how to establish good practice. The examples of genome editing discussed are multifaceted, and the measures and considerations proposed for dealing with difficulties are well thought out.

'Where applications of genome editing are less contentious – for example, therapies involving postnatal somatic genome editing – the WHO has correctly emphasised that there is still a need for high standards and equitable access.

'We are glad to see recommendations for building upon the WHO's Human Genome Editing Registry, which is already proving to be a valuable resource. We are also pleased to see a call for enabling confidential reporting, of concerns about instances of genome editing that are unregistered or unsafe.

'PET trusts that this work by the WHO will help research and clinical uses of genome editing to thrive, for the benefit of humanity.'

Following the publication of the WHO reports, PET held a public event where the reports were discussed.

This event – entitled 'Changing the Human Genome: What Next for Germline Genome Editing?' – was chaired by Sarah Norcross, and featured Professor Robin Lovell-Badge speaking on a panel alongside Dr Norah Fogarty, Dr Peter Mills and Professor Vardit Ravitsky.

A film of the event will be made available in the near future. In the meantime, watch films of recent PET events and interviews on the charity's YouTube channel.