Launch of the Pan-European LifeTime Initiative

The LifeTime consortium unites over 60 research centers across Europe with international advisors and over 70 companies, with the common aim to better understanding genomic function within cells, to map, understand and target cells in human disease. From 6th-7th May, 2019, the LifeTime Opening Symposium was held in Berlin, involving ~500 scientists, clinicians, patients, and stakeholders from over 20 European countries.

Leading members from renowned European research institutions and decision-making bodies discussed how to implement and achieve the mission of LifeTime: to enable physicians to assess the molecular state of patient tissues in real time, leading to understanding healthy and disease states at an unprecedent level to enable early diagnosis and effective interception of diseases. 

An important element of the initiative is to identify ethical issues that may arise from the development of new technologies and to develop ways in which to deal with them.  Maria Elena Torres-Padilla, director of the Institute of Epigenetics and Stem Cells (IES), is one of the lead researchers involved in this vital element of the consortium.  “It is very important to us as researchers to keep society and any ethical or legal implications of our work at the front of our minds” said Professor Torres-Padilla. “I am highly motivated to ensure that technologies arising from LifeTime will have a positive impact on society and improve research, disease intervention and treatments for the better”.  To this end, Torres-Padilla together with Annelien Bredenoord, Karin Jongsma and Astrid Lunkes will organise a workshop to identify important ethical and societal issues that may arise from the initiative and establish taskforces with the appropriate expertise to address them.

The “LifeTime ethics stakeholder workshop” will be held at the Stem Cell Center at Helmholtz Zentrum München on 10th July 2019.  Renowned scientific, legal and clinical experts will come together to discuss the legal and ethical implications of LifeTime and how to maximize the benefit to society.

For the press release covering the LifeTime Opening Symposium, here.