Policy ForumHuman Genetics

Ethical Considerations in Leaping from Bench to Bedside

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Science  24 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5436, pp. 2071-2072
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5436.2071

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Two preproposals involving in utero gene transfer research that were submitted to the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee have raised important questions regarding the appropriateness of initiating this sort of experimentation with human subjects. Before making the leap from bench to bedside, it is critical to address specific aspects of such proposals including, safety, the possibility of benefit, experimental design, and informed consent. Addressing these aspects adequately will require further public discussions and deliberations as well as additional empirical data.