The Life Technologies Bioethics Committee guides the responsible use of biotechnology to improve lives, accelerate scientific exploration, and protect our environment with a mixture of enthusiasm, caution, and humility.
The committee is charged with deliberating policy questions, communicating our positions on bioethical issues, and addressing issues such as stem cell research, cloning, use of genetic information, biological diversity, animal care, and related topics.
Our quest is to accelerate the discovery of how life works through innovations in science and technology. As new research opportunities emerge, Life Technologies is committed to ethically pursue and uphold our promise of serving as responsible stewards in the global life science community.
Stem Cell Research
Stem cell research has been shown to be a critical tool in the overall development of therapies to treat a variety of debilitating diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Life Technologies supports stem cell research and has instituted strict ethical guidelines concerning the use of embryonic stem cells to ensure that all research is conducted in an ethically and scientifically responsible manner.
Genetic technologies, such as simple DNA tests, are becoming increasingly available to identify predispositions to disorders such as Huntington's disease, cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, and muscular dystrophy. This tremendous potential to diagnose and treat disease also carries a risk that the personal genetic information may be used inappropriately. Life Technologies is committed to protecting the genetic information of our employees. We have modeled our company policy after the United States Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination based on genetic information and restricts acquisition and disclosure of such information or health coverage–related consequences for having a genetic test or participating in research studies that examine genetic information.
Human Tissue and Cells Procurement
In the U.S., the Federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that biotech and pharmaceutical companies test new drugs with human and animal cells to minimize exposing patients to dangerous side effects during clinical trials. Life Technologies supports this practice, provided certain guidelines are followed. As a company we adhere to all U.S. and international requirements related to patient consent, governmental protections for patients, and ethical requirements in the handling of human-derived tissues and cells. We obtain human tissue from federally regulated tissue and organ procurement organizations, qualified research tissue organizations, and prominent medical centers through collaborations that are regulated and accredited.
Synthetic biology raises concerns about the use of science to manipulate nature and to “enhance” life forms through nontherapeutic uses of genetic technologies. There also are questions about distributive justice, societal fairness, and the application of resources within society relative to who will benefit from these technological advances. To this end, Life Technologies pledges to educate its employees and the general public about the science, regulatory, and ethical issues relevant to synthetic biology. We also promise to be transparent about our synthetic biology work, including details about the potential risks and benefits of the research that we perform and support. We provide opportunities for employees to discuss these issues and have input into company policies and practices.