Gene therapy some additional considerations

In addition to some technical difficulties outlined earlier, a number of non-technical issues must be satisfactorily addressed before its practice becomes widespread. Chief amongst these issues are the questions of public perception, ethics and costs.

Gene therapy is not, and will not be, an inexpensive therapeutic tool. The cost of such treatments will likely be broadly similar to the cost of present-day biopharmaceuticals. However, if proven successful in treating many currently incurable conditions, the cost:benefit ratio will almost certainly greatly favour its medical use.

Public perception and ethical considerations are, in some ways, interlinked. The ability to so readily modify our genetic complement holds great therapeutic promise. However, strict regulations overseeing the use of this technology are required (and are currently being enforced). Without proper controls, the danger exists that gene therapy could eventually be used to 'improve' human characteristics. The technical know-how to underpin a new era of eugenics is now almost a reality. The most important safeguard aimed at preventing eugenic-type developments is already in place. Currently, gene therapy is restricted to somatic cells; the genetic manipulation of human germ cells is banned. Any genetic alterations achieved thus will not be transmitted to future generations. Like many other technologies, there is no 'going back' in relation to gene therapy. The challenge is to ensure that human genetic manipulation is used only for purposes that clearly represent the 'common good'.

Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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