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NIH Plans to Disband RAC

NIH Plans to Disband RAC

Bethesda , Md--NIH director Harold Varmus has announced plants to disband the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC). The committee was formed in 1975 as a panel of 24 scientists, ethicists, and others at NIH dedicated to holding those in the field of biogenetics accountable to the public.

The RAC created the first safety guidelines for genetically engineering microbes, instituted a formal review system for studies involving insertion of new genes into humans, and, in 1990, gave the first approval of a human gene therapy experiment. RAC approval was required before the FDA would consider any gene therapy proposal.

Now, Dr. Varmus believes the RAC is no longer necessary, as the FDA can handle all new proposals with the help of ad hoc committees convened as needed.

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