Gene therapy by Peyton Dempsey and Ryan O'Neill

What is the advancement in biotechnology? Gene therapy is the advancement in replacing malfunctioning cells cells. Gene therapy is when malfunctioning, diseased, or missing cells are compensated for with cells that will function properly.

Gene therapy is an experimental treatment that involves introducing genetic material into a person's cells to fight or prevent disease.

How does it work? A new, healthy gene is injected into a vector. The vector binds to the cell membrane and is packaged in a vesicle. The vesicle then breaks down releasing the vector and the cell makes protein using the new gene.

Using gene therapy, mutated genes that cause disease could be turned off so that they no longer promote disease, or healthy genes that help prevent disease could be turned on so that they can inhibit the disease.

Why is it important? Genes that are flawed can cause disease and even death. Gene therapy prevents this from happening.

Gene therapy is a technique for correcting defective genes responsible for disease development.

How has it impacted society? It has created an era where companies will compete for the development of cheaper and more efficient technologies. The greatest potential impact would be the influencing of our culture and ideals. With the enhancement of the science, more people would have access to it, so questions and concerns will arise.

Will our values change if we live in a world where there are no diseases and no problems?

Problems? Gene therapy has the potential problem of whether a situation is ethical or not, causing controversy.

For example, imagine if a person has the disorder dwarfism. Would it be considered ethical to treat them with gene therapy? On the other hand, imagine if someone simply has a trait that makes them short in height. Would it still be considered ethical to treat that person with gene therapy?

Ethical considerations? How can 'good' and 'bad' situations be distinguished? Who decides which traits are normal and which constitute a disability or disorder? Will the cost make it convenient for only the wealthy? Could the common use of gene therapy make society less accepting of different people? Should people be allowed to use gene therapy to enhance basic human traits such as height, intelligence, or athletic ability?

is it ethical and safe to disrupt the environmental process of genetic variety?

Sources:

- https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/therapy/genetherapy

- https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/therapy/procedures

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLI1Gfb0ynw

- http://gencure46.wixsite.com/genetic-revolution/issues-and-impacts-cni3

- https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/therapy/ethics

- http://cisncancer.org/research/new_treatments/gene_therapy/how_it_works.html

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