Well, today has certainly been an interesting day and I thought it would be great to share some of the fantastic news with you, my dear friends, colleagues, and patients.
I was reading an article recently in some tech magazine, or the like–I really cannot remember. And the focus was on human invention. The claim is that since the creation of the internet, mankind has had very few redefining creations (carefully excluding the personal and mobile technologies). Over the past hundred years, we have done some really great things, like creation of penicillin and going to the moon, creating the wheel, discovering fire. But as time progresses, according to the article, revolutionary ideas have slowed. They say that this is because the easy inventions have all been taken. New, revolutionary ideas are becoming more and more complex and costly. And this, to me is a rather bleak outlook.
In April we created the world’s first baby born from 3-Parent’s DNA. In September and October the world tuned in to hear the breaking news. And just today, the UK has passed legislation granting license to begin 3-parent treatments to prevent disease.
Great News, and it shaped my day. Hopefully it will shape the world.
LONDON- 8:10 AM – Good Morning Britain, itv
3 AM this morning, New York time, I found myself in studio with Good Morning Britain as they broke the news about Parliament passing 3-parent IVF. It was great, and there was some good debate, which you can watch here: http://www.itv.com/goodmorningbritain/news/three-parent-babies
New York- 9 AM- Dateline called to discuss a story
Excited to be approached by Dateline and will keep you all posted on the outcome
USA-9:30 AM Science News Magazine
Selected our “3 Parent baby” technique as the #4 science story of 2016! Read the article at http://bit.ly/2hmvMrv
New York- Noon BBC Radio calls for comment on Parliament and technique
Just wrapped recording with BBC radio, another insightful interview to look out for!
So as our day rounds out, I wanted to highlight the great discussions I had with media today. It seems like the ethics surrounding 3-parent IVF is still very much a hot topic of debate. On one hand, I get it. But I encourage you and the media to not solely latch onto this as a talking point.
In response I ask, if we have the capability to help someone who will be born terminally ill, should we? Isn’t helping, in itself, ethical? I believe strongly that scientists have to be brave. We all have to be brave from now on if we are to avoid the invention slump that I mentioned before. Invention may just be the key to the evolution of humanity. Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking believe our future lies in the stars, expanding and moving to Mars and other planets. Perhaps so. Perhaps it lies in our biological science.
Mother nature edits genes through natural selection. Early man in Africa had dark skin to protect from the sun’s equatorial rays, and after man migrated to the north, he lost his pigmentation to maximize the nutrients absorbed from the sun. If we can assist in this effort, should we? People who jump and say “NO” right away, seem to neglect common practices, like heart transplants, which save thousands of lives. When the first transplant was completed in South Africa, people thought the patient was an abomination, having the body of one person and the soul of another. Global outrage almost prevented this commonplace technique from becoming mainstream. It was brave of the doctors. It was brave of the patients. The world came around. To now look at 3-parent IVF and say it’s unethical is akin to a double standard when compared to past medical advances.
Talks of designer babies, sure, they have to happen. One person tweeted in the UK, “this is the fine edge of the wedge of gene editing.” This work must be done responsibly, with proper government or IRB oversight. Careful and ongoing monitoring is the only way to tell whether or not this is a viable treatment in the future. And we won’t be able to tell from only one case.
Parliament passing this is tremendous to governments that don’t have ready guidance in place to allow such treatment. I would say that science, in and of itself is neither ethical nor unethical. It’s application however, may be prone to interpretation.