Somatic Gene Therapy

2891 Words12 Pages
Somatic Gene Therapy To a parent, the thought of their child having a severe, yet rare genetic disease brings guilt, sadness, and responsibility to an aching heart. Parents who see their child pass through life with the weight of a terminal illness often wish in their hearts that the curse had been placed upon them rather than their child. To some, the thought of the old cliché "no parent ought to see their child die" seems to swim endlessly in their mind. The hope for a cure fills the hearts of many waiting on the edge of their seats in hopes for a better quality of life for themselves, loved ones, and human kind. The news of success with a novel technology in putting to rest these diseases brings a purpose in life. Such is the case with Ashanti DeSilva, a four-year-old girl diagnosed with severe combined immune deficiency (Human Gene Therapy). Ashanti hardly lived what would be call a normal life, confined to her sterile home where she battled common childhood diseases, like the cold, with massive amounts of antibiotics. She lived a life of separation, avoiding contact with the public and even those she loved. With a compromised immune system due to a missing gene in her genome, she was vulnerable to every passing germ. On September 14, 1990, Ashanti received a life changing treatment as the first approved gene therapy. In the procedure the researchers removed white blood cells from Ashanti, which were then grown in a lab. These cells were then spliced with the missing gene and infused back into Ashanti. Although this is a treatment and not a cure, Ashanti can now live a life she and her parents dreamed of. She can now attend school and play with friends and family without fear of contact, thereby living a more... ... middle of paper ...;> Human Gene Therapy (2000). National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature. (Online) 20Nov04. <>. Questions and Answers About Gene Therapy (1993). National Cancer Institute. (Online) 20Nov04. <>. Rubanyi, G. (2001). The Future of Human Gene Therapy. Molecular Aspects of Medicine. 22,3, pp. 113-142. Walters, LeRoy, and Julie Gage Palmer. Ethics of Human Gene Therapy. Oxford University Press, New York. 1997. Williams, D. (2003). Gene Therapy-New Challenges Ahead. Science. 302, 5644, pp. 400. Wilson, J. (1997) What Is Gene Therapy? The Institute for Human Gene Therapy. (Online) 20Nov04. <>.
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