Gene Therapy is an exciting new branch of medicine with the potential to treat inherited disorders, cancer and some genetic diseases. Currently most work in the UK is at the research and clinical trial stage.
Most of the health and safety concerns about gene therapy arise from the use of infectious viruses as gene delivery systems because of the potential for spread to workers and the wider community. Gene therapy receives media and pubic scrutiny and there appears to be some public unease regarding its usage?
The HSE horizon scanning system produced a review of the scale and extent of development of the technology and the current regulatory framework. The work also considered how close the technology is from being used to treat people and the potential occupational health and safety risks involved.
The review concluded that the current regulatory framework for occupational health and safety is adequate for the technology as it stands at the moment. HSE will keep a watching brief over the technology and continue to work in partnership with others, such as the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC) and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Genetically Modified Organisms (SACGM) strategic stakeholders to ensure the continued oversight of gene therapy work.The HSE Horizon Scanning Intelligence Group paper on gene therapy is available together with the review.