Advantages of Gene Therapy
Argument in favor of gene therapy.
In my opinion, in the case of gene therapy, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. First of all, we know that it is not a ‘cure all’ option and we acknowledge that, yes, it is not always successful but it means that a disease can be eradicated for a person and their future offspring, so it is remedied in not just one generation but also in subsequent generations. For example, a baby has just been born who underwent gene therapy in the womb to remove the breast cancer gene, as both parents had strong family histories of the cancer. As a result, unless the child is exposed to lots of carcinogens, she has virtually no chance of developing the cancer. This is one of many cases where a genetic illness has been virtually eradicated.
Furthermore, you can ‘silence’ a gene. In the case of someone with HIV, which had not yet developed into AIDS, scientists could save them the pain and suffering of the disease by using gene therapy to ‘silence’ the disease before its onset.
The first human to receive gene therapy treatment was a 4 year old girl with severe immune-deficiency disease, also known as ‘bubble baby syndrome’. This disease meant that her immune system was practically non-existent and she was vulnerable – a common cold held the possibility of killing her. She had hardly any hope of surviving longer than 15 years, if that. In the therapy procedure, they managed to cure her. Although the girl still needs follow-up treatments, she now leads a normal life when she had no hope before. If it wasn’t for gene therapy, she would have died.
People who oppose gene therapy may claim that many patients die. However, it has a high success rate compared to conventional methods of treating these diseases. Indeed, there is a risk of the patient dying during the procedure, but isn’t this the case for almost any operation? Also, there are a few side effects. These include nausea and temporary drowsiness. However, many of you have probably taken a cold or flu remedy this winter, which commonly have these same side effects. But you
In conclusion, gene therapy has the potential to eliminate and prevent hereditary diseases such as cystic fibrosis and is a possible cure for heart disease, AIDS and cancer. I believe that if people who are opposed to this technique were ever faced with cancer or a child born with a genetic disease, they would change their views. These sceptics would almost certainly choose gene therapy, especially if it was the last hope for them or one of their loved ones – as is the case for many gene therapy patients.