Status of Main Author

Undergraduate

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2015

Abstract

Gene therapy is a major area of current and potential medical treatment and has exploded into recent technological advances. Serving as the basis for many technological start-up companies as well as an increasingly dependable treatment method for major illnesses like cancer, gene therapy is fast evolving and multidimensional. With that evolution comes a considerable amount of controversy centered mostly on the safety and ethical concerns about research including germline gene therapy and embryonic stem cell use, health risks in clinical studies, and vector delivery methods. Although germline gene therapy is not being widely pursued at this time, it shares a similar ethical dilemma with embryonic stem cell use, which will soon play a crucial role in developing and regulating the most advanced gene therapy treatments. In any scientific pursuit concerning people’s health it is important to strive towards making trials safer and keeping consumers informed and this will continue to be a priority as therapy advances. Ultimately, ethical dilemmas will be the most prominent factor holding gene therapy research back in the future, and society will need to somehow come to a consensus about these issues before science can reach its full potential.

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