Public debate on nanomedicine: Ethical and legal questions
Thursday, 08 November 2012
On 7 November, the Adult Education Centre (VHS) Bonn and the Europäische Akademie organized two lectures on ethical and legal issues of nano-medicine. This event was inspired by the academy project “NanoDiaRA”, an EC-funded research project devoted to the development of nanotechnology-based diagnostics for rheumatic joint diseases. The lectures were given by PD Tade Matthias Spranger (Institute of Science and Ethics, Bonn University) and PD Felix Thiele (Europäische Akademie and Institute of Philosophy, Duisburg-Essen University).
Thiele emphasized the responsibility of the scientific community towards society and outlined specific moral challenges caused by the development of nanomedical procedures and substances. Salient issues in this context are the toxicity of nanomedical substances and matters of justice in healthcare with view to access to medical innovations. Spranger outlined the legal problems in research and development of nanomedical procedures and substances. He analyzed both the general legal framework and specific legal topics, for example questions of liability.
In their debate with the audience both lecturers emphasized that risk research on nano-substances for medical purposes already made impressive advance. There were, however, still considerable knowledge gaps concerning long-term effects of such substances.