The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues: What’s Next?

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues recently published a report on genome sequencing and will soon release its findings on medical research involving children. Future issues to be considered by the Commission are determined by two sources: requests from the executive branch and the Commission’s own expertise. This January, Commission Chair Amy Gutmann, Ph.D., announced that the ethical implications of incidental findings would be the next topic the Commission considers.  “Incidental findings” are data gathered beyond the scope and objectives of the particular tests and procedures conducted.  Such findings have ethical implications in fields such as neurology and genetics, as well as for clinical research in general.  Ultimately, the Commission’s inquiry will most likely involve the informed consent process and what patients should be told after undergoing a particular procedure or test.  The Commission’s next meeting will be held on April 30th and May 1st in Washington, D.C. Read more here.

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