Gene Therapy- An Overview
Gene Therapy is a process in which faulty genes are rectified by the use of several different techniques. The idea of Gene Therapy was coined in the 1950s almost directly after Watson and Crick discovery of unwinding the DNA double-helix. Scientists worked diligently, playing with the idea of being able to insert healthy genes in place of mutated ones which cause severe genetic disease.
According Anne Matthews, RN, phD, director of Genetic Counseling and Family Studies, statistics have shown that "approximately 4 million babies are born each year. About 3 to 4% will be born with a genetic disease or major birth defect."(Citation 8) These unpreventable and seemingly incurable genetic diseases are generally malicious, causing debilitating effects on the individuals as well as their families. Desperate for a cure, doctors and scientists experimented with many different methods, eventually discovering gene therapy.
This therapy is relatively new, so much research is still being done. Like all new medical techniques, the ethics of Gene Therapy are highly debated. While some people argue for Gene Therapy as a innovative new life-saving method, others believe that humans should have no role in tampering with natural creation. As of now there is no FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) regulated treatment or product that is for sale. However, research by top scientist and labs continue to experiment with over 400 clinical trials conducted in the United States. In the coming years scientist hope to test the vast opportunities that gene therapy offers and make it an accessible treatment.
Teacher: Mrs. Ann Moriarty
School: Davis Senior High School
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