REBIRTH - From Regenerative Biology to Reconstructive Therapy

Sponsor: DFG Excellence Initiative 
Duration: 2012 - 2019
Coordinator: Axel Haverich (Hannover Medical School)
CELLS contributors: Prof. Nils Hoppe; Rebecca Knab, PhD; Prof. Dietmar Hübner; Dirk Alexander Frick
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To identify and investigate significant ethical and legal challenges raised by the work of all REBIRTH research groups; to contribute to scholarly debate and academic literature in appraising and resolving these challenges; to facilitate and support ethically and legally sound approaches within REBIRTH by providing guidance and dialogue to other research groups.

Research Focus

The area of regenerative medicine, in particular in the context of an explicit full translational approach, raises numerous ethical, legal and social implications. Unit 10.7 will seek to identify some of the most significant of these implications, especially in the areas of human tissue and cell use, intellectual property, animal experimentation, enhancement and anthropotechnology, informed consent, ethics reviews and guidances. Within each of these focal areas, small sub-teams will identify and appraise ethical and legal challenges, based on the evidence generated by other REBIRTH research groups, and contribute to scholarly debate and literature in this field.  

Subproject Prof. Dr. Nils Hoppe

Nils Hoppe's projects aim at identifying and addressing legal and ethical challenges which impede the translation of innovative health products to the clinic. This ranges from product classification issues in xenotransplantation or tissue engineering, through intellectual property and data protection to information governance and consent issues in biobanking. It is a particular interest of the Hoppe group to address legal problems resulting from the innovative character of processes and products, in particular where a supranational legal aspect or cross-border questions are involved. The Hoppe group works closely with REBIRTH's life sciences research teams and clinicians to identify important issues and then analyses and systematises the main challenges. The group's output is in publications, conference presentations, and advisory services to partner institutions. 

Subproject Prof. Dr. Dietmar Huebner

The project of Dietmar Hübner focuses on the ethical evaluation of the creation and use of human-animal chimeras and hybrids (HACHs). The subgroup hat established a comprehensive systematic review of pertinent ethical arguments in this field (Kwisda, White, Hübner, under review). It has also developed a novel ethical account of HACHs, highlighting a paradoxical interplay of „individual species arguments“ (ISAs), referring to the individual  level of protection that HACHs might be accorded due to their partly human species membership, and „group species arguments“ (GSAs), referring to the possibility of HACHs blurring normatively essential boundaries between species (Hübner 2018, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy). The group currently intensifies its research into concrete scenarious of HACH generation and usw.

PhD: New Relevant Ethical Aspects Regarding Stem Cell Research And The Creation Of Chimeras

Koko Kwisda

This PhD project is concerned with human-animal chimera research and the bioethical debate surrounding it. The research focuses on the philosophical analysis and systematisation of arguments against chimera research in the bioethical literature.
Therefore, a systematic review of ethical arguments regarding chimera research will be conducted. This review will examine what arguments are presented and will analyse them on three levels: arguments that are only mentioned, arguments that are considered invalid and, finally, genuine arguments or arguments that are considered valid. On the basis of this, further arguments will be evaluated that are considered to be particularly valid or useful.

Duration: 2013-2018