This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Gene Therapy: The Danger Of Enhancement

3870 words - 15 pages

Gene Therapy: the Danger of Enhancement

I. Introduction

Gene therapy has the potential to revolutionize modern medicine. The techniques of gene therapy are still in their infancy as medical treatments and there are still many problems which must be solved before gene therapy will live up to its potential. However, it is very likely that gene therapy will become a reality at some point in the future and when that time comes, the ethical questions surrounding gene therapy will be pushed to the forefront of medicine. Science may find a way to reduce the risks associated with gene therapy but science alone cannot eliminate the serious ethical and societal risks which gene therapy brings to bear on the world. We need to put people's fear about the dangers of altering the genetic makeup of human beings to rest by establishing ethical principles which clear the way for advancement in medical therapy. Ethical guidelines for gene therapy must be established which emphasize medical uses over uses for human enhancement.

II. Concepts of Gene Therapy

Gene therapy involves the transfer of genetic material into the cells of an organism in order to cause a specific protein to be produced or in order to cease the production of a specific protein. This procedure usually involves transferring a specific gene into host cells to be incorporated into the chromosomal DNA of the host and later to be expressed. However, according to Dorothy Bonn, the future of gene therapy may also include the use of antisense DNA strands to disrupt expression of a gene or the use of homologous recombination to alter host DNA (1996). In medical terms Jeffrey Leiden, M.D. (1995) defines gene therapy as, "the introduction and expression of recombinant genes in cells for the purpose of treating a disease" (p. 871).

In order to transfer foreign genes into a cell, a vector is necessary. Currently, modified viruses, liposomes and bacteria are being employed as vectors for gene transfer with viruses being by far the most commonly used (Bonn, 1996). According to Craig Donegan, there are three basic methods of delivery: the ex vivo method transfers DNA to cells extracted from the patient and reinjects those cells, the in vivo method injects vectors into the bloodstream to seek and bind targeted cells, and the in situ method injects vectors directly into the affected tissue (1995).

We currently group types of gene therapy by the nature of the cells which are affected and the goal of the therapy. Nelson Wivel, director of the Office of Recombinant DNA Activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Georgetown University professor of philosophy and ethics Leroy Walters (1993) group types of gene therapy into three categories: type 1 is gene therapy which affects only non-reproductive or somatic cells, type 2 is gene therapy which involves gene transfer to reproductive or germ-line cells, types 3 and 4 are the use of somatic and germ-line modifications respectively to...

Find Another Essay On Gene Therapy: the Danger of Enhancement

Genetic Engineering: The History of Gene Therapy

892 words - 4 pages order to do this, technology must be increased in the area of gene therapy. Gene therapy has come a long way in its short existence. Genetic enhancement of humans may someday be possible, following the successful completion of the Human Genome Project. According to an article in New Statesman (v. 127) by Caroline Daniel, the Human Genome Project is an ‘international scientific collaboration’. The project was started in 1990. More than two

Gene Therapy of Embryos Essay

579 words - 2 pages Gene Therapy of EmbryosGene therapy is beneficial. The whole disease can be wiped out from someone's genetics. It can prevent future generations from having that disease. It also makes taking care of offspring a lot easier. It can save and lengthen lives. Gene therapy can also make a difference in a family's wealth and free time. Stress is also another factor. Gene therapy can be a huge stress reliever. It also reduces costs and time spent

Priotities of Gene Therapy

2763 words - 11 pages Priotities of Gene Therapy Gene therapy is a relatively new area of medicine that attempts to apply recent advances in molecular biology, genetics and biotechnology to the treatment of human diseases. Gene therapy uses a set of approaches to the treatment of human disease based on the transfer of genetic material (DNA) into an individual. Gene delivery can be achieved either by direct administration of gene-containing viruses or DNA to

Gene Therapy to the Rescue

1521 words - 6 pages a point because of the laws and restrictions put in place by the government. This means that gene therapy is completely safe and should be used by all. We should all work together to allow the use of gene therapy everywhere! Works Cited Association, World Transhumanist. "Genetic Enhancement Can Improve Humanity." Genetic Engineering. Ed. James D. Torr. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2006. N. pag. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 25 Feb. 2014

The Debate Over Gene Therapy

850 words - 3 pages In September 14, 1990, an operation, which is called gene therapy, was performed successfully at the National Institutes of Health in the United States. The operation was only a temporary success because many problems have emerged since then. Gene therapy is a remedy that introduces genes to target cells and replaces defective genes in order to cure the diseases which cannot be cured by traditional medicines. Although gene therapy gives someone

Implications of and Attitudes toward Gene Therapy

2223 words - 9 pages Viewpoints: As gene therapy is very controversial, there are contrasting perspectives on the issue. Proponents of gene therapy are attracted to the idea of providing a cure for a disease, instead of drug therapy and only easing the symptoms. Many can see the potential of gene therapy to become a huge part of medicine in the future of patient treatment. Dr Frederick Hecht says “most gene therapy for diseases such as cystic fibrosis and

Advantages and Disadvantages of Gene Therapy

1623 words - 6 pages Considered one of the more controversial up comings in the world of science, it’s hard to ignore what amazing benefits gene therapy has to offer. With many potential treatments aimed to target some rather serious diseases, much support has been gained for the field. Although gene therapy remains at the forefront of change, much discussion has been created due to several potential drawbacks. These drawbacks, however substantial, must not be

Mechanism of Transfer in Gene Therapy

2068 words - 8 pages Mechanism of Transfer in Gene Therapy Abstract: Gene therapy is the transfer of “normal” genes into the body to replace defective or undesired genes. The transfer may be in somatic or germline cells and may take place in vivo or in vitro. The DNA may be inserted in a retrovirus, adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, herpes simplex virus, or liposome, or it may be naked DNA. The vector travels to a target cell and inserts the gene, which goes

Genetic Engineering: Power of Gene Therapy

807 words - 3 pages The Power of Gene Therapy Each day as our technology advances, we become aware of new diseases and disorders. We also find effective ways to alleviate a number of these problems. In the last decade, gene therapy has been found to treat a portion of life-threatening illnesses such as Cystic Fibrosis, Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID), and Alzheimer's disease. Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease that affects the exogenous

Gene Therapy of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

2118 words - 9 pages have been affected on CLL therapy (Kalos et al., 2011). Conclusion. Leukemia constitutes a danger on humans live. Research has determined several systems and mechanism involved in the process of developing the treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Using many vectors as gene therapy of CLL, researchers are getting closer to finding a good treatment of CLL through understanding he detailed processes that cause CLL, but could still be a

Germline Engineering: The Ultimate Gene Therapy

684 words - 3 pages Germline Engineering: The Ultimate Gene Therapy PAGE 4 Germline Engineering:The Ultimate Gene TherapyRebecca GuanVictoria Park Collegiate InstituteGermline gene therapy has tapped into the very core of what it means to be human with the ability to govern the very genetic makeup of our offspring; a feat that was only dreamed of 100 years ago. By introducing genetic modifications to the fertilized egg, changes are applied to all subsequent cells

Similar Essays

The Ethics Of Gene Therapy Essay

3041 words - 12 pages The Ethics of Gene Therapy Francis Crick was quoted as saying, "We used to think that our fate was in our stars. Now we know that, in large measure, our fate is in our genes." Over 40 years ago, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). From this a new technique has evolved called gene therapy. Gene therapy was discovered in the 1980’s a few years after researchers were already able to isolate

The Potential Power Of Gene Therapy

1736 words - 7 pages One of the innate qualities that every human poses is the desire to make his or her life better. In our quotidian life, we endeavor to enhance the every aspect of our life ranging from our diet to clothes. This century is deemed to be persuaded greatly by enormous advancement in biotechnology. Biotechnology is a very broad field. It comprises neuroscience, genetic engineering, human cloning and much more. Among all of those fields, gene therapy

The Ethical Controversy Of Gene Therapy

1623 words - 6 pages replacement or repair technologies Figure 2 corrective germ line gene therapy While there is no theoretical reason for not using germ line gene therapy, there is a persuasive argument which concludes that all forms of germ line gene therapy involving human should be prohibited. Genetic therapy like genetic enhancement not only is permanent during the entire lifetime but of the affected individual, the transgene becomes inheritably transmitted to

The Pros And Cons Of Gene Therapy

2200 words - 9 pages treatment may become used for the enhancement of traits in healthy people. Some Christians are especially concerned about this as it may be used to change people from believing in God by altering what they call “religious genes”, meaning that some people believe that there are genes that control religious beliefs. ( However, according to, germ line therapy is worse than somatic gene