Gene Therapy Trials: Select a Bioethical issue and research it further
Gene therapy has developed from preclinical to clinical research over the last two decades. This biomedical method seeks to find a solution for diseases. These illnesses may include: single gene disorders like cystic fibrosis and complex disorders such as cancer and cardiovascular illnesses. Gene therapy trials is a method that uses genes to treat or prevent diseases. It is projected that gene therapy might be used to treat patients by introducing genes in their cells instead. This is considered an alternative to administering drugs or doing surgery. Also, it includes aspects such as:
- replacing the mutated gene with a healthy replica cell,
- destroying the gene that is dysfunctional,
- or inserting a new gene into an individual to prevent a disease (Genetics, 2017).
Although this is a promising treatment technique for gene-related conditions, it remains a risk, and it is still under research to test its safety and efficiency. As of now, gene therapy should only be used for diseases without other treatment options.
Gene therapy raises many ethical issues since it involves altering genetical formation and the basic instructions of the human body. The primary moral question revolving around this treatment technique is how to distinguish between good and bad uses of the therapy. Current gene therapy studies focus on introducing healthy genes into a patient’s body, which cannot be passed to the offspring (Genetics, 2017). However, gene therapy could also allow introducing genes to the germ cells, such as an egg or sperms, a technique known as germline therapy.
There is much controversy around germline therapy. While it could help the future generations from a genetic disorder, it might affect the development of the unborn child in an unknown way and have long-term implications not yet discovered. The unborn people cannot decide whether to take the treatment or not, a decision that can affect their lives once they are born (Genetics, 2017). Therefore, due to the ethical issues in germline therapy, research on gene therapy does not receive public funding from the government.
Alton, E. (2007). Progress and Prospects: Gene Therapy Clinical Trials (Part 1). Gene Therapy, 1439-1447.
Genetics, H. R. (2017, 12 6). Your Guide to Understanding Genetic Conditions. Retrieved from Genetics Home Reference: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/therapy/ethics