Experts identify the potential ethical, legal and societal aspect of the LifeTime Initiative

On 10 July, Helmholtz Stem Cell Center in Munich hosted the LifeTime Ethics Stakeholder Workshop with the aim to identify the potential ethical, legal and societal issues (ELSI) raised by the development of LifeTime technologies: single cell, machine learning and organoids.

With the LifeTime initiative involving researchers from over 20 countries in Europe, the workshop addressed the need to align to guidelines and principles required by both EU and international legislation, as well as by the national governments of the countries in which the participants perform their research. 

Nikolaus Rajewsky, co-chair of the LifeTime, presented this large-scale research initiative and identified some of the ethical challenges that must be addressed: GDPR, data protection and the use of organoids. 

The first panel of the workshop, “Ethical implications of LifeTime and Societal impact”, brought together experts in the fields of scientific research, law and clinical studies to identify priority areas with ethical challenges:

  • Andrea Bandelli – CEO and Founder, Science Gallery International
  • Hervé Chneiweiss – Member of the International Bioethics Committee of the UNESCO.

Ibo Van de Poel – Professor in Ethics and Technology at Delf University.
  • Amedeo Santuosuosso – Professor of Law, Science and New Technologies of the University of Pavia.

The second panel, “Legal implications and responsible research: reaching a true societal benefit”, brought at the same table policy officers from the European Commission, judges and well as clinicians. The issues discussed revolved around ethics cprotocols for the procurement of patient samples and in vivo models, data management and use of digitalisation for data handling and AI integration.

  • Dory Reiling- Retired senior judge in the Court of Amsterdam and in the Hague Court of Appeal, independent senior justice and IT expert.

Costica Dumbrava – European Commission. Communication Networks, Content & Technology. E-health sector.
  • Angelika Eggert – Pediatrician, Head of the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Oncology and Hematology, Charité, Berlin. Expert in health care management.