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This Week in Science: Dec 1, 2017

In this week's Science, a group of gene drive supporters describe efforts to promote principles to foster responsible and safe use of the technology. They offer a series of guiding principles for gene drive research including advancing quality science to promote the public good; promoting stewardship, safety, and good governance; demonstrating transparency and accountability; engaging thoughtfully with affected communities, stakeholders, and the public; and fostering opportunities to strengthen capacity and education. A total of 13 organizations have endorsed the principles and aim to convene to discuss next steps in operationalizing them. "Although there are many challenges to address, the forum will start with consideration of harmonized approaches to stakeholder engagement, regulatory oversight, transparency and data sharing to support the research, knowledge sharing, and public discourse on gene drive technology," the authors state. GenomeWeb has more on this, here.

Also in Science, University of Michigan Law School's Rebecca Eisenberg and former National Cancer Institute Director and Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus discuss the importance of comprehensive genetic testing in cancer diagnosis and treatment. They argue that insurance coverage should precede, rather than follow, clinical validation of broad genomic testing in oncology in order to help promote the data generation, collection, and analysis that is currently lacking. They also propose that federal agencies and insurers consider a 'coverage with evidence development,' or CED, approach to "encourage patient participation in registries for studies designed to determine whether genomic testing is reasonable and necessary for the accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of cancer." GenomeWeb also covers this, here.