Monday, October 31, 2011

Issue #3: Gene Therapy

A final "hot topic" we will consider is Gene Therapy.

Click below to enter the tutorial on Gene Therapy:
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/tech/genetherapy/

Spend some time reading through the Learn More links: What Is Gene Therapy?, Choosing Targets For Gene Therapy, and Challenges In Gene Therapy.

If you choose, you can also complete the Interactive Explorations: Tools Of The Trade and Cystic Fibrosis: Case Study.

Now that you have some background, please respond to the following questions:

1. When should gene therapy be used? Should it be used to treat critically ill patients? Should it be used to treat babies and children?

2. Who should decide what are "good" or "bad" uses of genetic modifications? How do you define "normal" with regard to human beings?

3. Who will have access to gene therapy? Will gene therapy and genetic enhancements create an advantage for those who can afford it?

35 comments:

SydnieL said...

Gene Therapy should be used only in extreme and severe cases, and after much research has been done. If a patient is dying, and there is a chance that gene therapy could save their life, then yes, it should be used to treat critically ill patients. The same goes for babies and children, but only after much research has been done. I think scientists specializing in genes and mutations should decide what the good and bad uses of genetic modifications are. As for being normal, it is what the majority of human beings have. For example, if 82 out of 100 people are “normal” and the other 18 are colorblind, then obviously, not being colorblind is normal. People that need gene therapy will have access to it, whether or not they can afford it. It will be easier for wealthy people to receive procedures such as gene therapy, but if a homeless person was dying and the only way they could survive was to get this procedure done, I would hope that friends, families, churches, etc. would pitch in to give that person a longer life, and a chance to redeem themselves.

charlesk said...

Gene therapy is very useful. However, scientists need to do much more work before it can become commonplace. Primarily, it should be used on critically ill patients, but can be necessary on babys. Like SydnieL said it should be used in extreme situations for now. Specialized scientists should make the decision as well as the parent of the baby. Continuing, a normal human is one with the "exact" human makeup. Finally, because it is expensive, the wealthy will have the advantage of access to gene therapy. That is just an advantage of being wealthy in our economy, you gain access to what some cannot.

Shelby H said...

Gene therapy should be used when affected tissue in the human body, if it involves multiple genes, or if the condition result from mutations in one or more genes. It should be used to treat critically ill patients that their disorder answers the following questions, does the condition result from mutations in one or more genes, which genes are involved, will adding a normal copy of the gene fix the problem in the affected tissue, what do you know about the biology of the disorder, and can you deliver the gene to cells of the affected tissue.
The person who is going to decide what are good or bad uses of genetic modifications are multiple doctors. If multiple doctors have the same answer then yes, it is a good use of genetic modifications otherwise no. “Normal” human beings can be defined as, people who have 46 chromosomes, are able to reproduce, have the ability to fight of diseases, if they can uphold certain body features, etc.
People that will have access to gene therapy will be specialist that are majoring in the field of gene therapy or hospital doctors. Gene therapy and genetic enhancements will create an advantage for those who can afford it because with the new technology that is being created every day people are more prone to being able to fight off diseases.

mileng123 said...

In my opinion i think Gene Therapy is useful and can help a lot but should be only be used in severe patients only. If using gene therapy can save a persons life then i think they should use its but in young children and babies i think it is kind of ok. Gene therapy should only be used when there is an affected tissue or if it is the condition is which there is one or more mutations, then yes it would be ok, but undergoing this therapy the doctor or scientist should decided whether or not it is ok to undergo the therapy because then they know if it will help a lot for them.

Hannah H said...

I believe that gene therapy is not a good idea. In only extreme and rare cases it may be alright but it could only be okay if all of the facts match up and it is a perfect match. It is also a very costly therapy and I believe that the people who are of higher class will take control of most of the abilities that the gene therapy can offer.

Ava Kalhoefer said...

1. There is always that chance of it being unsuccessful, yet gene therapy is a better approach than temporary affects in cases of severe and fatal mutations. If the victim's genetic disorder is in a more controllable area of the body, such as tissue, the procedure is best, while in other cases our knowledge of replacing genes is limited, because more complicated traits, like physical and behavioral, are more dangerous to preform on.
2.Who should decide what are "good" or "bad" uses of genetic modifications? How do you define "normal" with regard to human beings?
"Normal" is considered to humans as each cell preforms its designed function for each part of the body. Sometimes cells create a variation of different coded proteins, resulting in things like different eye color. yet sometimes the genetic disorders need to be treated to prevent dangerous modifications, like odd behaviors/ locations of tissue and organs, which may not be reversible.
3.When targeting a certain genetic, it is good to know whether or not it could be serious disorder to the victim. This is an example of how limited our research is: some mutations can be harmless, while others can be more complicated. If the disorder does appear to be dangerous to replace, gene therapy is not the answer, showing how it is a limited resource.

Maddie F said...

Gene therapy is both good and bad. It could cause many problems, and we don’t really have much research, but it could also save lives. I think that it should be used on any one who is critically ill or will die at a very early age. I also think babies and children should be able to receive the treatment so their quality of life can be improved and they can actually be kids. I think that the good and bad uses are different for everyone. I think everyone should get the chance to be healthy and not have to worry about a disease ruling their life. Gene therapy should only be used on people that really need it, but deciding who needs it and who doesn’t is very difficult. I think the doctors and the scientists are the best judges for who should receive the treatment and who shouldn’t. Maybe it should be available for anyone who can afford it and thinks that it will improve their quality of life. Gene therapy is very expensive, especially right now, so people that can afford it will have a huge advantage. It will make the therapy accessible and allow them to cure their disease, but for others it will be very hard because of the costs.

MadelineP said...

1. Gene Therapy should be used in patients that are close to critically ill or that will be critcally ill in the future. There is some possibility that it won't work or that it will be rejected by the cell. Gene Therapy should be used in children, not babies, to a certain extent. If the child has a very severe disease that he/she is likely to die, then it should be used.
2. The people who should decide if it's good or bad is the doctors and scientists themselves. They would know more about what is going on with gene therapy than any one else. The "Normal" for humans is that the cell are functioning like they should. A nerve cell should only send messages from the brain to tissues. It shouldn't be protecting our body like a skin cell does.
3. I think the ill and the rich will have access to it because it's going to take a while for the doctors to put the gene into the cell and make sure the body is not rejecting it. I guess it will create an advantage for those who can afford it because they could become cured and live a healthy life, while those of us who can't afford it would simply have to live with our disease.

Spencer E said...

Gene therapy could be used for all human with genetic abnormalities such as disease. Research needs to be conducted and positive results need to be confirmed before gene therapy can be utilized. Gene therapy is good when it is used to repair what is missing in the average human. It is being used wrong if all average genes are present and it is used for enhancement. "Normal" in regard to humans means that all necessary genes are present. Everyone with disease and other medical implications will have access to gene therapy. Those who are attempting to use it for enhancement would be denied. It would be fairly pricey but it could be covered by insurance which would give access to all.

Jenni M said...

1. I believe that gene therapy should be used to treat diseases. It could be used to treat anyone that can actually benefit from it.
2. I think that it depends on just morals on whether the genetic modification is "good" or "bad". In my opinion a "good" one would be to help cure a disease or illness. A "bad" one would be to change something like eye or hair color, or pretty much anything that shows on the outside.
3. Everyone should have access to gene therapy. But it will be more reachable to those that have more money just like everything else in this life is!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AveryLantz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AveryL said...

1. Gene therapy shouldn’t be used in all cases, but only in severe cases. If the disease was life threatening, then there should be an exception to the use of it, but if it something that someone is able to live and function through, then gene therapy shouldn’t be done. I believe the same for babies and children, that if it is much needed then it should be completed, although in a more careful manner.
2. Only scientists who have studies gene therapy are ones that should decide what the good and bad uses of genetic modifications are. The only bad way I could think of gene therapy being used is to physically change the way you look, or for any reason other than curing a severe illness. In regard to humans, normal is “like others” so you are in the vast majority of what other people are like.
3. I think anyone that needs gene therapy should have access to it. Gene therapy will create an advantage for those who can afford it because they will take full advantage of the opportunity they have to make them “normal”, although I do believe that even if you can’t afford it, there should still be a way to cure your disorder.

Corey Nevers said...

1. Gene therapy should be used as a possible solution to fix a genetic disease. If the disease is not genetic, gene therapy won't work for it. It should be used to treat critically ill patients (as long as its their symptoms are the cause of the genetic disease) but integration of this study upon children could lead to too much tampering with the human race, therefore I don't think the study should be forced upon children.

2. The ethics of genetic modification can be different for anyone, therefore no one is truly able to say whether certain types of gene therapy are "good" or "bad". Normal, to me, is defined as the process of natural selection combined with survival of the fittest. As cold as it sounds, I believe that this should be the way because that is how life has always existed and I don't think tampering should be permitted to alter the human race.

3. At this point, it seems only people with large sums of money can access gene therapy. Because of this, those people have an automatic advantage over people who don't have enough money.

PaulaC said...

1. Gene therapy is a risky and potentially fatal resource. It should only be used as a last resort and for those who are critically ill. Until it is completely understood and studied, it should not be used.
2. With such a controversial issue, I don't think anyone can decide whether this is "good" or "bad". However, experts in the subject (who fully understand the consequences and benefits of gene therapy) would be most qualified.
3. If gene therapy advances and become a reliable resource, it will most likely be very valuable and expensive. In this case, certain groups of people might risk being genetically altered.

Brianab said...

1. I believe that gene therapy should be used on any patient of any age when they are clinically ill.
2 & 3. I don't know who should be in charge of something as big as gene therapy. Because if something goes wrong, the blame is put onto them, even if it wasn't their fault. I think the family, or person getting the gene therapy should be in charge of their own thought. If it is the best cure for them, they can chose to use it. How can anyone difine the word "normal"? The closest to normal for a human would maybe be someone who does there own thing, lives life, and enjoys their time. You can't characterize someone to be "normal" based on how they act. Because if they act different than you, it's not normal for you, but it is for them. As in any medical therapy or medication it costs money. Anyone can get the treatments, it just may put a hole into your wallet.

kirstenT737 said...

I think that Gene Therapy is super useful, but should be only used on critically ill because they are already very ill and using kids and babies wouldn’t be smart due to the fact that they are still young and have a lot of life ahead of them, unless their parents are willing to try it then that’s their call. Where as the critically ill people may not have long. I think the people with the first say on when it should be use are the specialized scientist in this area. It is what they are trained in and specialize in. Also, the people and or parents of the babies should have a say and ultimate decision on if they want to go thorough with it or not. Due to the fact that is an expensive therapy, I think they wealthily have the upper hand on this. If you don’t have a lot of money your barely getting by and throwing something you cant afford in is going to make your life harder to manage. If the insurance covers you on this therapy those people that have insurance would be okay to go through with the therapy, but if you don’t it will coast a major amount of money.

Emily Skoda said...

I think gene therapy is very beneficial but should only be given to patients who are critically ill. If the person is dying then it would be necessary. For babies and children it’s okay so they can get the treatment early in life. I think the doctor and/or specialist should decide if it is necessary. For access to gene therapy only the wealthy people will be able to access it and insurance may be able to cover it for others. But it will definatly give an advantage to the wealthier people because the others would have to persuade the insurance to cover it.

Tali McCall said...

Gene therapy is used to treat many disorders or medical conditions related to genes. I believe gene therapy should only be used for critically ill patients. I don't believe children or babies should be treated because gene therapy is a very prestigious therapy in which several details are needed from the patient.
I think the person that is suffering from a genetic mutation should be the one to decide what is "good" or "bad" in genetic modifications. I don't believe that normal exists, but what may be normal is what is more common.
I think it depends on the person, but mostly those who can afford it have better access to it. Gene therapy may give those who can afford it the advantage of healing, but again, I think it depends on the person.

hunterk2015 said...

I believe that gene therapy should be used when someone is critically ill and can't be treated with drugs. Most genetic disorders can't be, therefore, we should be able to treat these diseases with gene therapy. Most people would argue that this creates an "abnormal" person, or it gives rich people an unfair advantage. But what is normal to people? No one is exactly alike, meaning being normal is being different. Most of the population, however, has normal genes, and if someone wants to rid of the abnormality in their genes, then we should provide the means to do so. As for creating an unfair advantage, doesn't that apply to cars and houses? Do you walk down the street seeing a rich man/woman driving an old rusted down car and living in a box in an alley way? No. Do you see a homeless man driving a Mercedes and living in a beach side condo? No. So why is this issue any different from any other. Were the poor able to afford health insurance before the health care bill? No. Clearly this argument is not valid.

Mason Smith said...

1. Gene therapy should be used only to treat critically ill patients. This should also be used on babies and children but again critically ill because messing with someones genes is dangerous and could (like the patients given the gamma c gene) make them have leukemia.
2. No one can decide what are good and bad but there should be a line of only in critically ill patients so they don't die and not in people that want to genetically change themselves to be advanced compared to the rest of the human population. The definition with normal for human beings is being born with no genetic make up but how you came out of the womb.
3. The rich will definitely have access to gene therapy. Gene therapy will help those in critical condition but hopefully genetic enhancements will not be available but if it is then yes it will create a advantage because purchase the enhancements while those that cannot afford it will not be themselves and not what they think they want to be.

Unknown said...

Gene therapy should be used but only in extreme and severe cases, after much research has been done. If a patient is dying and there is a chance that gene therapy could save their life it should be used to treat ill patients. If the child or baby is ill or about to die then gene therapy should be used. A doctor or scientist should be the people who determine the “good” or “bad” uses of genetic modifications. This is so because they are familiar with the human body and how it works. Also the scientist should know how genetics work. A “normal” human being would probably have no genetic problems or and defects with their genes. But we will never know because a human can never be “perfect”. Gene therapy would have an impact on me if I needed it. It would help the people who could afford it and also help the people who could not afford it. Money should have nothing do with it because if someone needs medical help they should get it regardless.

BriFetterley said...

1. I think gene therapy sis useful to patients who severly need it which applies to babies and children.

2. An expert doctor that has studied the therapy deeply can understand if it is good or bad.

3. Everyone should have access to the therapy if needed and it should be affordable. If one needs the therapy but can afford it, a pay system should be an option for the situation.

Laura Wilms said...

1. Gene therapy should be used whenever possible Especially when a person has a medical condition or illness. It should be used to treat critically ill people because it could make them healthy again. It should also be used to treat children and babies. It should be used to treat all people that are associated with medical problems because gene therapy can treat the problem and repair the underlying genetic flaw.



2. The "good" and "bad" of genetic modifications should be decided by doctors. The term "normal" has not yet been defined for humans and no one knows exactly what "normal" is. Mostly being normal is being healthy without health defects and problems.



3. The people that should have access to gene therapy should have some type of medical emergency or disorder. Gene therapy and genetic enhancements will create an advantage for those who can afford it because if gene therapy is successful it will create a way to fix a problem at its source. Adding a copy can help the tissue, organs, and affected cells work properly which will be a major advantage to those who have health problems.

Jennifer S. said...

Gene therapy is still a major work in progress that will be great in ten years from now. It would be hard to use if the person is critically ill. I think I would have progressed too far to stop it and do anything. It could help a little bit, but not enough to end it. Once that person is past help I don’t think there is much to do about it. Children and babies are the best hope in stopping dieses. There bodies are weak and not strong enough to stop incoming dieses. In babies it would be the best. When they aren’t even close to being done growing, doctors/ scientist can change and alter things easily. It sounds a little inhumane to do this, but it is the most logical.
Scientist and doctors are the only people to know if it is right for the patient or not. Depending on how the body functions is a huge part in this. Kind of like if you look into getting Lasik for your eyes. It could work well if you’re a good candidate. Normal is a some what average person. In good shape and health, nothing is wrong with them.
Only people who have the money and time for therapy could use it at this day and age. At the moment when a new cure is coming out not everyone is first in line. People don’t know risks. When the new iPod comes out it is $250 but after a few months a year prices go down. I think this would be very similar at our day and age.
Jennifer Swomley 4th hour

Jennifer S. said...

Gene therapy is still a major work in progress that will be great in ten years from now. It would be hard to use if the person is critically ill. I think I would have progressed too far to stop it and do anything. It could help a little bit, but not enough to end it. Once that person is past help I don’t think there is much to do about it. Children and babies are the best hope in stopping dieses. There bodies are weak and not strong enough to stop incoming dieses. In babies it would be the best. When they aren’t even close to being done growing, doctors/ scientist can change and alter things easily. It sounds a little inhumane to do this, but it is the most logical.
Scientist and doctors are the only people to know if it is right for the patient or not. Depending on how the body functions is a huge part in this. Kind of like if you look into getting Lasik for your eyes. It could work well if you’re a good candidate. Normal is a some what average person. In good shape and health, nothing is wrong with them.
Only people who have the money and time for therapy could use it at this day and age. At the moment when a new cure is coming out not everyone is first in line. People don’t know risks. When the new iPod comes out it is $250 but after a few months a year prices go down. I think this would be very similar at our day and age.
Jennifer Swomley 4th hour

Rachel G said...

Gene therapy should be used (when it is safe) to attempt curing diseases like Cystic Fibrosis. If gene therapy is not safe and has a potential to harm someone such as a baby or child then it should not be used and safer routes should be sought out.
There should be no one person who gets to decide whether something “good” or “bad,” rather there should be groups of scientist and doctors that know the risks and as well as the gains from gene therapy.
Only licensed people should have access to gene therapy, people who know every aspect of it and whether it could be beneficial to the patient or not. Chances are yes, it will create advantages for those who can afford it, and Social Darwinism will be a prominent feature if that should happen.

KendallC said...

1. Gene therapy should be used for people that are critically ill, but only after extensive research. This technique should have many tests done before used on an actual patient. As for babies and children, their parents will have to decide that. If the child is seriously ill, then yes gene therapy should be used.
2. The person receiving the gene therapy will need to decide which genetic modifications are good and bad. There is not much the general public can do about this except to decide for themselves. Is everything that is bad for us not allowed? No, some things are personal preference.
3. Gene therapy will probably be expensive, and will put the wealthy at an advantage. Everyone will be able to have access to it, but may not be able to afford it. But like many other things, being wealthy would certainly help.

Lauren A. said...

1. I believe that gene therapy should be used for anyone who is sick, ill, or has genetic mutations and needs a new gene to help them or to save their life. I also believe that it would be fine to treat babies and children, as it could potentially help make their lives better.
2. I am not sure who should decide what are "good" or "bad" uses of genetic modifications, but I do believe that people should do what feels right for them, as long as they are not using genetic modifications for vain reasons, such as to increase or better thier looks, hair color, eye color, etc. As long as genetic modifications are used to treat critically ill patients or people that have bad genes or diseases, then it's fine. And I think that you define "normal" human beings, as people that have not had their genes altered for vain reasons and are not "desinger people" or genetically enhanced. I think that people who haven't had their genes altered are "normal" but I also think that someone who had their genes altered for a medical illness, disease, or gene mutation could be considered normal.
3. I think that gene therapy would be available to those who are very rich, just like plastic surgery or other surgeries are available to enhance your appearance. I think that if gene therapy or genetic enhacements were to become available to people, I think that it would, indeed, create a huge advantage for those who can afford it, as they could pick and choose genes (theoretically) for their chilren, such as height, eye color, hair color, intelligence, etc, over those people who cannot afford it, and are just given thier natural genes.

-Lauren A. (Period 2 Bio)

Lauren A. said...

1. I believe that gene therapy should be used for anyone who is sick, ill, or has genetic mutations and needs a new gene to help them or to save their life. I also believe that it would be fine to treat babies and children, as it could potentially help make their lives better.
2. I am not sure who should decide what are "good" or "bad" uses of genetic modifications, but I do believe that people should do what feels right for them, as long as they are not using genetic modifications for vain reasons, such as to increase or better thier looks, hair color, eye color, etc. As long as genetic modifications are used to treat critically ill patients or people that have bad genes or diseases, then it's fine. And I think that you define "normal" human beings, as people that have not had their genes altered for vain reasons and are not "desinger people" or genetically enhanced. I think that people who haven't had their genes altered are "normal" but I also think that someone who had their genes altered for a medical illness, disease, or gene mutation could be considered normal.
3. I think that gene therapy would be available to those who are very rich, just like plastic surgery or other surgeries are available to enhance your appearance. I think that if gene therapy or genetic enhacements were to become available to people, I think that it would, indeed, create a huge advantage for those who can afford it, as they could pick and choose genes (theoretically) for their chilren, such as height, eye color, hair color, intelligence, etc, over those people who cannot afford it, and are just given thier natural genes.

-Lauren A. (Period 2 Bio)

jordangallegossucks said...

I beleive that gene therapy shoujld definatly be used to treat illnesses, even on babies and children. I think good uses of genetic modification should save lives unlike bad uses strictly for vainity or looks. If you can afford it, I think you could have a great advantage as long as you use it correctly.

Keegan Clouse said...

1. I think gene therapy should be used for critically ill patients because that may be the best solution to their illness, and you have to do whatever I best to keep the human alive. It should be used on adult’s babies and children whatever are necessary.
2. With regard to human being all people are normal in their own ways; the time when it is exceptable to use the term “normal” is when you are talking about gentics. But other than when talking about genetics I feel the term “normal” depending on the context could be politically incorrect.
3. I feel gene therapies should be open the public but for a low price because in a lot of circumstances it would be the best medical procedure.

EmilyM said...

1. Gene therapy should be used when a person is in a condition where gene therapy could save their life. When the doctor knows that this will save the persons life and they would go back to living a normal life and gene therapy is the only option then it should be used. Gene therapy comes down to a matter of life and death in my opinion. I think that the same rules apply for children and babies, but in these cases there are also parent influences effecting what will be done.
2. Everyone will have different opinions on what are “good” uses and what are “bad” uses, it all depends on the persons beliefs and what they want to do. A “normal” human being is a person with one or many flaws no matter what the flaws relate to. Everyone has a flaw because no one is born perfect.
3. The people who are better off and the people who are in critical living conditions (I.e. dying) will have access to it due to the fact that the rich can afford it and the dying or ill people will need it more than others will. It will definitely create an advantage for those who can afford it because they can have their “flaws” fixed.

MadisonT2015 said...

1.I think that gene therapy should only be used in extreme cases where it is the only option left for someone to survive. I don't think that it should be used to treat babies and children because there are so many risks and possible complications involved that it is dangerous.
2. I believe that people should decide for themselves what are the good and bad uses of genetic modifications. If gene therapy is limited to those who need it to survive, then those people can decide if they want to take the chance of genetically modifying their cells. I think that "normal" in regard to human beings is someone who hasn't had gene therapy. If they haven't had it then they are natural.
3. Gene therapy should be limited to professionals who have been supervised and approved by the government. We can't have people who are inexperienced or may use gene therapy for the wrong thing dealing with gene therapy. I believe that gene therapy and genetic enhancements can create an advantage if people can afford it. They could help people heal and get over a disease and help people have children that will not get a genetic disorder or disease. We still have to be careful that we use it for the right reason and only if it is necessary.

Faith V said...

1) Gene therapy can be very helpful, but without doing more research, it should not be used. We don’t know enough about it to safely use it to help people without causing major side effects. We have no idea what could happen. I also think it should only be used in extreme cases, and it is definitely fine to use with babies and children. 2) I think the scientists should know the good and bad uses of genetic modifications, and to share that knowledge with already or potential patients. I believe normal is what the majority is, or perhaps the way things are suppose to be due to scientific knowledge, for example the condition of the brain. 3) Everyone should have access to gene therapy, but I do not think that will be the case. Even if we eventually are able to use gene therapy efficiently, it will be extremely expensive, and those who cannot afford it have no advantage of gene therapy at all.