Critique Of 'the Ethics Of Human Gene Therapy' By L Walters And J Gage Palmer

947 words - 4 pages

IntroductionThe article 'The Ethics of Human Gene Therapy' by L Walters and J Gage Palmer is a report of the first human gene therapy experiments, and the ethical issues surrounding it. It is an account of the lives of the people -particularly two young girls- who received the therapy and the associated outcomes and impacts it had, both on her and her family's life, and that of the general public.A major part of the article presents seven ethical questions that must be addressed during the reviewing of gene therapy research proposals, and answered by those responsible for overseeing the experiment. These include considerations such as: the disease to be treated, alternative treatments available, the anticipated or potential benefit or harm from the procedure, fair and consensual selection of patients and how privacy and confidentiality issues will be dealt with.The article itself is well structured and set out, clear, and easily understood by the reader with the assistance of titles and subheadings. Any questions the reader may have are asked and answered within the parameters of the text.The article reports the therapy's success, but is careful to summarise what could still possibly go wrong. Presented to the reader as a complete story from beginning to end, it is intertwined with facts and opinions from both sides of the coin. It is gripping, and maintains the interest of the reader, unlike many similar scientific reports of this nature.Who is the paper written for?The audience this article is aimed at is anyone from science students to professional research scientists to people who are interested in scientific breakthroughs and the positive and negative ethical issues surrounding it.What the paper contributes to my understanding of Human Gene TherapyThe paper not only allows understanding of the disease itself, (by a description and available treatment methods) but also:- The outcome so far from this experiment- The ethical questions asked, and- The process of determining the balance of good and bad that helped the scientists arrive at the decision that the experiment was worthwhile and should go ahead.Walters & Gage Palmer describe how it was taken into consideration that patients usually die before the age of two; that only a small level of Adenosine Deaminase (ADA) production is needed to improve the condition, and that previous very similar tests on animals were successful.How effective are the arguments in this article?The paper is not so much an argument as a report/overview of the processes carried out and the results gained. It is set aside from others because if there is a point to be made, both sides of the argument are presented. Walters & Gage then choose one viewpoint and proceed to explain the logic and reasoning behind that particular view.The nature of arguments presented in this article are utilitarian ones- how the decision making process of whether the...

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