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About Medical Gene Transfer


Sometimes called "gene therapy," medical gene transfer involves adding or modifying genes in a person's cells (other than those found in his or her sperm or eggs). The "new" genes are intended to function in ways that would alleviate a medical condition. They would not be passed on to any future generations.


Arguments Pro & Con

Gene transfer may eventually become an effective treatment for some important medical conditions. Clinical trials have been underway since 1990, but so far have been mostly unsuccessful, involved several conflict-of-interest scandals, and produced adverse results including deaths.

Gene transfer has also been proposed for "enhancement" purposes. This application could raise troubling social and ethical questions.



Failures and Risks in Biosafety Regulationby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2014Accidents at CDC and elsewhere point up the difficulties in regulating potentially dangerous releases of genetically modified organisms, which scientists are, quite responsibly, discussing.
Surprise: Stem Cells Help Mice with Multiple Sclerosis to Walkby Kirsten StewartThe Salt Lake TribuneMay 15th, 2014While attempting to better understand the common problem of stem cell rejection, a team of scientists in California may have found a new avenue for treating multiple sclerosis.
Broad Institute Gets Patent on Revolutionary Gene-Editing Method by Susan Young RojahnMIT Technology ReviewApril 16th, 2014The Harvard-MIT genomic science institute stays mute on how it will assert control over the tools expected to speed cures and change gene therapy.
Editorial: Genome editing for allNature BiotechnologyApril 8th, 2014CRISPR-Cas is about to transform how we interrogate genetic variants and model disease.
CRISPR Reverses Disease Symptoms in Living Animals for First TimeGenetic Engineering NewsMarch 31st, 2014MIT scientists report the use of a CRISPR methodology to cure mice of a rare liver disorder caused by a single genetic mutation.
Texas High School’s “Issues Day” Takes on Human Genetic Engineeringby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 26th, 2014A private San Antonio high school, Saint Mary’s Hall, holds an annual “Issues Day.” The topic this year, chosen by a committee of the junior class, was human genetic engineering.
Chinese Billionaire Funding CRISPR Research at University of Californiaby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2014Li Ka-shing funds a new institute devoted to genomic editing and company development, as questions are raised about the distortions charitable donations cause to research funding.
His Fertility Advance Draws Ire: Shoukhrat Mitalipov’s Mitochrondrial Manipulations[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sabrina TeverniseNew York TimesMarch 15th, 2014To Shoukhrat Mitalipov, the mysterious power producers inside every human cell are a lifelong obsession.
Study Gives Hope of Altering Genes to Repel H.I.V.by Denise GradyThe New York TimesMarch 5th, 2014The idea of genetically altering people’s cells to make them resist the virus that causes AIDS may seem like a pipe dream, but a new report suggests it can be done.
A Powerful New Way to Edit DNAby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMarch 3rd, 2014In the past year or so, researchers have discovered that a sophisticated immune system that bacteria use to fight viruses can be harnessed to make changes to the DNA of humans, as well as other animals and plants.
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