The Ethical and Legal Considerations of
Consumer Genetic Technologies
Conference Date: May 17, 2019
Abstract Submission Due: October 15, 2018
The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School is pleased to announce plans for our 2019 annual conference: “Consuming Genetics: The Ethical and Legal Considerations of Consumer Genetic Technologies.” This year’s conference is organized in collaboration with Nita A. Farahany, Duke Law School, and Henry T. Greely, Stanford Law School.
Breakthroughs in genetics have often raised complex ethical and legal questions. Many regard their genetic testing and sequencing as revealing something intensely personal and private. The questions raised by these technologies loom even larger as genetic testing is becoming more commonplace, affordable, and comprehensive. At the same time, advances in CRISPR and other related technologies raise anxieties about the implications of editing our own DNA. One can imagine a future when gene editing may become as widespread as genetic testing is today. As genetic technologies become more accessible to individuals, the ethical and legal questions around the consumer use of these technologies become more pressing. This conference will examine some of these issues.
The rise of genetic testing has allowed individuals to gain new insights into their unique makeup. Already the global genetic testing and consumer/wellness genomics market was valued at $2.24 billion in 2015 and is expected to double by 2025. Amazon noted that Ancestry.com’s DNA test kit was one of their best-selling products on cyber Monday of 2018. The availability of these technologies inspires patients to act proactively to avoid medical conditions, such as when actress Angelina Jolie pursued a double mastectomy after genetic testing revealed that she was in the highest risk category for developing breast and ovarian cancers. The rise of direct-to-consumer genetic testing kits raises questions about the appropriate setting for these activities, however. For example, the Food and Drug Administration expressed concern about 23 and Me’s initial product offering, noting that delivering health-related results directly to consumers might cause these individuals to draw the wrong medical conclusions.
The increased ease of genetic testing and sequencing has also led to a sharp increase in genetic data and the rise of precision medicine. The rise of genetic databases raises significant ethical questions, especially around privacy concerns. In an age where serial killers are caught because their relatives chose to submit DNA to a consumer genealogy database, is genetic privacy for individuals possible? The economics here are significant. Consider the increased value of Myriad’s database of variances of unknown significance after the Supreme Court in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics held that isolated genes cannot be patented. Does the aggregation of data from genetic testing turn people into products by commercializing their data? How might this data reduce or exacerbate already significant health care disparities?
While gene editing tools such as CRISPR are not yet as widely available as genetic testing technology, in some parts of the world their availability is already spreading. There have been reports that Chinese scientists have used CRISPR-Cas9 technology to genetically engineer the cells of at least 86 patients. Companies in the United States and Europe are expected to begin treating patients with CRISPR-based therapies this year. Many countries have drawn a line against germline modification, but this prohibition may be strained if gene editing technology is widely disseminated. Before we reach that point, this is the time to consider what ethical and regulatory safeguards should be implemented for when the time comes.
Read the full Call for Abstracts and find out how to submit yours on our website!
Regulatory Science Faculty-Student Mixer
October 16, 2018 (5 p.m.)
Modell Center Atrium at Harvard Medical School
Join other faculty, trainees and students from Harvard and MIT who are interested in regulatory science, and learn about the new Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science (CRS). This event will feature CRS faculty including Ariel Stern from HBS, Aaron Kesselheim from PORTAL and HMS, Brian Alexander from Dana-Farber, and more. We will introduce the Center, provide an overview of faculty research, discuss the CRS fellowship and announce more of our upcoming events. Refreshments will be served.
This event is free and open to anyone with interest in this topic. Please help us to plan by RSVPing here!
About regulatory science:
Regulatory science is the science of developing and assessing novel therapeutics, devices, and biomarkers from discovery through post-market. Regulatory science brings together experts from all aspects of the drug development pipeline including academics, industry professionals and government regulators.
Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science
The Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science works to harness systems engineering and data science to create faster, better, and cheaper routes to new medicines and devices. Our objectives are to generate awareness about regulatory science, promote regulatory science research, train the new generation of regulatory science researchers, and promote meaningful collaboration between different stakeholders.
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New England Venture Summit
December 12, 2018
Lombardo’s Conference Center, Boston, MA
Where Innovation Meets Capital
Come meet, interact and network with more than 700 VCs, Corporate VCs, angel investors, investment bankers and founders of venture backed, emerging and early stage companies at the prestigious New England Venture Summit being held on December 12th 2018 at Lombardo’s in Boston Randolph, MA.
Whether you’re a startup seeking capital and exposure, or an investor seeking new deals, The New England Venture Summit presented by youngStartup Ventures - is the event of the year you won't want to miss.
A highly productive venture conference, The New England Venture Summit is dedicated to showcasing VCs, Corporate VCs and angel investors committed to funding venture backed, emerging and early stage companies.
Initial lineup of VCs confirmed to speak and judge includes:
Magdi Amin, Investment Partner, Omidyar Network | Janet Bannister, Partner, Real Ventures | Peter Bastien, Partner, Next47 | Joshua Berg, Investment Manager, GM Ventures | Dan Burstein, Managing Partner, Millennium Technology Value Partners | Meghan Cross Breeden, Managing Partner, Red Bear Angels | David Cruikshank, Partner, ARCH Venture Partners | Miriam Eaves, Venture Partner, BP Ventures | Michael Fanfant, Investor, Runa Capital | Mark G. Fields, Partner, Alsop Louie Partners | Prashant Fonseka, Principal, Tuesday Capital | Matt Gatto, Partner, Insight Venture Partners | Stephen Gilfus, Founder, Blackboard Inc. | Jamil Goheer, Managing Partner & Cofounder, CoVenture | Jacob E. Grose, Investment Manager, BASF Venture Capital | Marina Hadjipateras, Co-Founder & General Partner, Trail Mix Ventures | Mar Hershenson, Co-Founding Managing Partner, Pear Ventures | Noel Jee, Investor, Illumina Ventures | Jamie Kasuboski, Senior Director , Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund | Patrick Kenealy, Managing Director, Ridge Ventures | Daniel Kwak, Investor, Point72 Ventures | Kyle Lui, Principal, DCM Ventures | Hiroki Matsuda, Investor, Sozo Ventures | David Miller, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Clean Energy Ventures | Kirsten Morbeck, Managing Director, SpringRock Ventures | Amit Mulgaonkar, Investor, Mithril Capital Management | Brian Panoff, Senior Principal, Shell Ventures | Sumay Parikh, Principal, Quake Capital | Vinny Pujji, Investor, Insight Venture Partners | Wanda Reindorf, Managing Director, Clean Energy Ventures | Praveen Sahay, Managing Director, WAVE Equity Partners | Louis Schick, Founding Partner, NewWorld Capital Group | Connie Sheng, Founding Managing Partner, Nautilus Venture Partners | Alex Shtarkman, Associate, Revolution Ventures | Laurel Touby, Partner, Supernode Ventures | Claude Vachet, Managing Partner, Cycle Capital Management | Maria Velissaris, Investor, Pipeline Angels | Geeta Vemuri, Managing Partner, Agent Capital | John Wei, Sr. Investment Manager, SABIC Ventures | Jamie M. Weston, Managing Director, Spring Mountain Capital | Troy Williams, Managing Director, University Ventures | Lu Zhang, Founder & Managing Partner, Fusion Fund and many more.
Harvard Biotech Club has made special arrangement for our network to receive a special discount of 10% off the existing “early bird" savings.
This conference will be attended by the best people in the industry. Please register early to avoid disappointment.
Register Today & Save Click here. (Use promo code "HBCVIP”)
In addition to providing access to leading Investors, the conference will feature more than 50 pre-screened venture backed, emerging and early stage companies seeking capital, and hardcore networking.
Call for TOP INNOVATORS!
Get Noticed > Get Funded > Grow Faster
A select group of more than 50 Top Innovators from the Technology, Life Sciences/Healthcare, CleanTech and Fintech sectors will be chosen to present their breakthrough investment opportunities to an exclusive audience of Venture Capitalists, Corporate Investors, Private Investors, Investment Bankers, and Strategic Partners.
Apply to Present / Nominate a company:
For more information or to be considered for one of the Top Innovator slots click here.
If you are a seed stage company seeking angel funding of less than $1M (and have raised less than $300,000) click here to apply for our Seed stage track.
We look forward to seeing you there.
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