Wilson leaves UPenn's gene therapy institute

Director oversaw experiment that led to death of 18-year-old patient in 1999.

Harvey Black(hblack@chorus.net)
Apr 22, 2002

MADISON, WISCONSIN — James M. Wilson, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Human Gene Therapy, will leave his post effective 1 July 2002, and return to research at the university. The resignation, first reported on Saturday by the Philadelphia Inquirer, comes after a faculty committee review of the institute said the university needed to broaden its approach to treating disease.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Dean Arthur H. Rubenstein, who announced Wilson's resignation in an e-mail to faculty on Friday, was traveling Monday and could not be reached for comment.

LeRoy Walters, a professor of bioethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, told The Scientist that the resignation is clearly part of the fallout of the1999 death at the institute of Jesse Gelsinger, an 18-year-old patient who was being treated for an inherited liver disease. After shutting down all gene...

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