Stanford statement on fact-finding review related to Dr. Jiankui He

Stanford University issued the following statement regarding the conclusion of a fact-finding review.

Following the claim by Chinese scientist Jiankui He that his research team had produced the world’s first gene-edited babies, Stanford University undertook a fact-finding review of Dr. He’s interactions with several Stanford researchers during and after the time he spent at Stanford as a postdoctoral scholar in 2011-12. The review was conducted by a Stanford faculty member and an outside investigator, as is the university’s practice, and has now concluded.

Based on all of the available information, the reviewers found that the Stanford researchers were not participants in Dr. He’s research regarding genome editing of human embryos for intended implantation and birth and that they had no research, financial or organizational ties to this research. The review found that the Stanford researchers expressed serious concerns to Dr. He about his work. When Dr. He did not heed their recommendations and proceeded, Stanford researchers urged him to follow proper scientific practices, which included identifying an unmet medical need, securing informed consent, obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and publishing the research in a peer-reviewed journal. Finally, the reviewers found that Stanford researchers were told by Dr. He that he had secured IRB approvals for his work.

Stanford is committed to following ethical practices when providing medical treatments and conducting medical research. Editing of human genomes has raised important questions for the scientific community as a whole. Stanford will continue its longstanding tradition of working with national and international organizations to further develop shared professional guidelines for emerging technology, including genetic technology.