Medical Ethics and New Technology: We Can Do It – But Should We?

Medical Ethics and New Technology: We Can Do It – But Should We?

Reproductive technologies like genetic testing, amniocentesis, in vitro fertilization and gene editing through CRISPR have shed light on many human illnesses and conditions that were once considered to be terrifying mysteries. On the other hand, there is also great potential for recklessness and harm created through these technologies, and the different ethical systems we use to make decisions around them often overlap and conflict. How can we bring wisdom from our cultural, civic and religious surroundings to bear on these issues, which are often ones of life and death?

Dr. David Snyder is chair of the Bioethics Committee at City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, CA, and the Emeritus professor of Medicine at the Department of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplant.

Rabbi Elliott Dorff is Distinguished Professor of Jewish Theology at AJU and author of Matters of Life and Death, A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics, as well as Visiting Professor of Law at UCLA.

Dr. Ellen Knell  is a geneticist who specializes in cancer-risk assessment and genetic testing. She carried out her undergraduate studies in psychology and biological sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, and then went on to earn her MSc and PhD from UCLA. She worked at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, City of Hope, and has been a consultant and in private practice most of her career.

Dr. John Zaia is an HIV researcher (Aaron D. Miller and Edith Miller Chair in Gene Therapy) at the City of Hope, and Institutional Officer for City of Hope to the Food and Drug Administration/National Institutes of Health.

(This post is part of Sinai and Synapses’ project Scientists in Synagogues, a grass-roots program to offer Jews opportunities to explore the most interesting and pressing questions surrounding Judaism and science. “Medical Ethics and New Technology: We Can Do It – But Should We?” was an event held at Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center on December 1, 2022).

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