Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
China Government Medicine United States

China, Unhampered by Rules, Races Ahead in Gene-Editing Trials (wsj.com) 159

U.S. scientists helped devise the Crispr biotechnology tool. First to test it in humans are Chinese doctors (Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative link). WSJ reports: In a hospital west of Shanghai, Wu Shixiu since March has been trying to treat cancer patients using a promising new gene-editing tool. U.S. scientists helped devise the tool, known as Crispr-Cas9, which has captured global attention since a 2012 report said it can be used to edit DNA. Doctors haven't been allowed to use it in human trials in America. That isn't the case for Dr. Wu and others in China. In a quirk of the globalized technology arena, Dr. Wu can forge ahead with the tool because he faces few regulatory hurdles to testing it on humans. [...] There is little doubt China was first out of the block testing Crispr on humans. Nine trials in China are listed in a U.S. National Library of Medicine database. The Wall Street Journal found at least two other hospital trials, including one beginning in 2015 -- a year earlier than previously reported. Journal reporting found at least 86 Chinese patients have had their genes edited.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

China, Unhampered by Rules, Races Ahead in Gene-Editing Trials

Comments Filter:
  • Behold the future.

  • I guess by the 23rd century we'll know how bad it was ;)
    • by sycodon ( 149926 )

      I suspect they'll have adequate material for the movie, The Island of Doctor Chen long before then.

  • by MountainLogic ( 92466 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @03:51PM (#55980725) Homepage
    " Replicants are like any other machine, are either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit it's not my problem."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    America doesn't win anymore

    China's curing cancer, and we can't even keep our government in operation

    • by Narcocide ( 102829 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @03:57PM (#55980779) Homepage

      No proof yet that they've cured shit. For all we know they just gave the test subjects double-cancer.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        The point is that they will find out. Sure, the morality of this is problematic, but just categorically denying anything in that direction is nit much better. The history of medical advances is littered with corpses, but these are fewer corpses than if those advances had not happened.

        And it is high time that the medical profession gets its head out of its collective backside and start to tackle cancer successfully. Their performance so far in that field is a disgrace.

    • We?

    • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @05:48PM (#55981589) Homepage Journal

      America doesn't win anymore

      China's allowing scientific experimentation on it's own people

      FTFY. While I don't necessarily agree with the US government's position in this regard, let's not fool ourselves into thinking that the Chinese government has any altruistic intent when it comes to allowing their populace to be used as guinea pigs - their human-rights track record speaks for itself in this regard.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        Human rights track record? What's not to like about a country that has initiated more wars and armed intrusions than any other in the past century and killed a few million people in the process; has manipulated and interfered in 81 elections in other countries; has stationed its troops in more than 100 countries around the world; bombed 8 Mid East and North African countries in the past 20 years, has insulted literally every ethnic and religious group in its own country (except white, Christian, obese coal

        • Trying to remember the last election where interfering in other countries angered people enough to go to the polls.

          Or making insinuations about groups of people.

          I think it was in the 70s.

          Even if it did have political effects (btw it didn't), what racist thing has Trump said? I guess I missed that part. Are you one of those people who think talking tough to Kim Jong Ill is racist?

          And what high crime qualifies Trump for impeachment? Call me when that question gets answered.
          • Are you one of those people who think talking tough to Kim Jong Ill is racist?

            No, but describing all countries that consist mostly of black people "shitholes" is.

            • If you want to give preferential treatment to any ethnicity you are a racist.

              Btw, you were the one who introduced ethnicity into the discussion. Own it.
        • It's not a competition.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But at least we'll get girls with cat ears! =)

  • by sdinfoserv ( 1793266 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @03:55PM (#55980755) Homepage
    Unhampered by "Job Killing" rules like clean air, clean water, intellectual property, and child labor laws, China has claimed top global growth rankings for the past 2 decades...
    Now live with it... or try anyway.
    • Unhampered by "Job Killing" rules like clean air, clean water, intellectual property, and child labor laws, China has claimed top global growth rankings for the past 2 decades... Now live with it... or try anyway.

      China has strict environmental regulation... but they only enforce it for foreign companies. The result is that a LOT of people are getting lung cancer which means they are mass producing subjects to experiment on.

      • China has strict environmental regulation... but they only enforce it for foreign companies. The result is that a LOT of people are getting lung cancer which means they are mass producing subjects to experiment on.

        Sounds like a win - win to me. :)
        Why yes, I am a sociopath. Why do you ask?

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Commies don't have to worry as much about public backlash from 3-eyed people. Look at the Soviet Union's nuclear research history. (True, the US did some dumb things, but not nearly in the same proportion.)

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @06:01PM (#55981651)
      That's actually relevant. The price you pay for protective regulation is a slower rate of technological development. Short-term, this doesn't mean much and it's "obvious" that the regulations are superior.

      But long-term... If clean air laws increase lifespan by x years, but lack of clean air laws allows technology to advance so people end up with more than x years of additional leisure time over their lifetime, which is really better?

      I don't honestly know the answer. I don't even know if we can figure out the answer (since we're talking about guessing at what technological breakthroughs will happen in the future). But if you're judging the merit of clean air/water regulations based solely on whether you prefer clean air/water or not, then your analysis is overly simplistic.

      China's decision was a bit easier since they were behind the developed world technologically - they could see the beneficial technologies they were going to get in this bargain. They made a decision to sacrifice something like 10 years of life expectancy, in order to make up a 40 year deficit in technology and catch up to first world nations. If they decide to clean up their air and water now, that 10 year sacrifice in lifespan will only have affected one or two generations, while the 40 year jump in technology will benefit all future generations to come. They probably think that bargain was worth it.
    • Unhampered by "Job Killing" rules like clean air, clean water, intellectual property, and child labor laws, China has claimed top global growth rankings for the past 2 decades... Now live with it... or try anyway.

      But they're all happy with it, and if they're not they don't live long enough to tell anyone. No wonder China and North Korea are best pals

  • Considering it's behavior, the Chinese government clearly holds little regard for human life. That said, if someone has a fatal prognosis then they should be able to volunteer for experimental treatments under the condition that they accept that the treatment will likely result in a painful death and part or all of their body may be used kept to study and understand what went wrong with the treatment. However, the volunteer should be given the option of euthanasia should they wish to have it (to avoid the

    • They're not hampered by western "morality" (which is really religion). Risking the lives of a few tens for a cure that saves millions sounds perfectly rational to me.

      Yes, this is the same country that harvests organs from a spiritual movement disliked by the government, but a country that gave smallpox blankets to Indians or infected people with syphilis doesn't deserve to throw the first stone.

      • They're not hampered by western "morality" (which is really religion). Risking the lives of a few tens for a cure that saves millions sounds perfectly rational to me.

        OK, thought experiment time:

        You're one of the "tens," which turns out to be tens-of-thousands, and you weren't given a choice in the matter. Still find it rational when you are being experimented upon, against your will?

        • I'm talking about rational actions of a government, not of an individual. If you're infected with a disease that affects only ten people in the world, it's rational for you to put all your savings into attempting to get cured (as otherwise you won't get to enjoy those savings anyway), but, as an unrelated voter, I'd rather prefer my taxes to be put into research into a disease that affects a million -- as the chances that I or one of my nieces get infected with the latter are so much higher.

          And the Chinese

      • Actually, you know what? If all the people that gave these smallpox blankets are already dead, and the country hasn't done anything wrong in hunderds of years, I think that I'm willing to let them throw the first stone anyway. (I do agree that there may other examples of shitty US morality, I just don't understand why you decided to go that far back in time).

        • Then what about pushing US patent law on the rest of the world (it really hampers down research, especially in medicine)? Or about helping Saudis wage a Hitler-style war in Yemen that involves carpet-bombing civilians in towns with no military presence, concentration camps, and similar niceties?

          I picked smallpox blankets and Tuskegee because of their direct connection with medicine, but if you want atrocities in general, here you go.

      • They're not hampered by western "morality" (which is really religion). Risking the lives of a few tens for a cure that saves millions sounds perfectly rational to me.

        Yes, this is the same country that harvests organs from a spiritual movement disliked by the government, but a country that gave smallpox blankets to Indians or infected people with syphilis doesn't deserve to throw the first stone.

        Those responsible for that syphilis and smallpox blanket example probably thought they were sacrificing thousands to save millions

      • In Christianity the individual is higher than the many.
        • In Christianity the individual is higher than the many.

          If and only if that individual is ordained.

      • The smallpox blankets was a lie told by the discredited Ward Churchill. It has been debunked.
    • by slew ( 2918 )

      Considering behavior, very few governments clearly hold regard for human life.

      That has little bearing on the rights to volunteer for experimental treatments. Unfortunately, it is of significant likelihood that participation in such treatment are not really what you might call a volunteer (e.g., if risky experimental treatments are being offered mainly to uninformed/desperate patients, it might signal that many aren't really volunteers, but are merely being tricked).

      In many places you can volunteer for expe

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So, at least we know where the zombie apocalypse starts.

  • There goes everyone else's chance in the Olympics. In 20 years China will be hip-deep in engineered super-human athletes and people that look like Michael Jackson.
    • Considering how dim a view the Olympics takes on any kind of enhancement, they would probably ban the technology very quickly. If there's no way to check for such modifications, then they could always just ban China from attending, like they did with Russia.

      • The Olympics is all about cheating and not getting caught. Even if you ban China, people from other countries will pay the Chinese to boost their embryos for them.

        • It's only about cheating because of the money at stake. If the Olympics had any integrity they would ban all paid promotion.
    • And shortly thereafter the new superhumans will attempt to overthrow the human government.

      Kahnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

  • I, For One, ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by crunchygranola ( 1954152 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @04:34PM (#55981021)

    I, for one, welcome our new genetically engineered Chinese overlords!

  • Our more cautious approach to human experimentation will, in the long run, be the end of us as a scientific superpower when it comes to this kind of stuff.

    It also doesn't help that our government is increasingly politicizing science with one side being quite anti-science. Seemingly we will count on other countries to do the innovation.

    • I'm not too worried. The anti-science party is already working overtime to lose the next elections. Even before the "shutdown", something like 70% of Democrats were opposed to shutting down over DACA, and I can't imagine that number has gone up now that footage [youtube.com] has surfaced of Chucky saying, just a few years ago, that it would be crazy to hold the government hostage for immigration.

    • Yes, the crystal worshippers are very anti-science. No GMO's, No Nukes!

  • Monsanto being Umbrella Corporation is so Last Thursday, China is now the new hotness in being Umbrella Corporation! Look for a zombie apocalypse near you, in the next 10-20 years!

    In all seriousness: enjoy your possible human-caused genetic diseases as you recklessly tinker with human DNA. Oh and by the way so far as I'm concerned if you create genetic diseases that are communicable, and it causes a pandemic? I vote for nuking your entire fucking country over it.

    Seriously, at the rate we're going, we
  • I can't wait to see what all they cure. I am also a little worried for those it fails on, or damages. Their blood will pave the way for a brighter future, as often happens to those under communist rule.

  • And their population-curbing cancer-gene-enabled bioweapons

  • I think this one's a tough call. Gene editing could hold the key to curing some incurable diseases but it could also produce a moral issue where it's used for eugenics instead. People after all are willing to alter themselves for vain reasons but is that right? I think there's a slightly lesser risk of disease outbreak unless government is doing hostile black ops research but don't expect zombies or anything like that. Think more a plague outbreak.

    Science is a double-edged sword, think nuclear science.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Well, somewhat. Sure, this needs to be done carefully. But if you are so careful that you are not doing it at all, then somebody with far less morals will do it. The Chinese are by far not the worst on the planet in that regards. And they are actually trying to help people. Not so long ago, western medicine did kill most of their patients with serious issues, but those they saved made it still worthwhile. Think surgeries with 20% survival rate, but 0% if not attempted. Biological existence sucks and it is h

  • China has safety rules just like everyone else. What it is not encumbered by is an anti-technology movement with access to the court system so it can stall every project into infinity by arguing its own dystopian fears.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thankfully, the FDA was slow to approve it.

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth

Working...