There are opposing viewpoints on the incorporation of gene therapy into modern medicine. Many scientists and individuals from the public find genetic therapy to be unethical. In contrast, others see it as a revolutionizing technology that will change medicine and produce treatments and preventions to genetically inherited diseases. Reece briefly mentions the challenging decisions that accompany technological advancements. The ethical concerns that arise with gene therapy include; is the usage of DNA technology adequate to determine if people have genes for inherited diseases, should the tests be voluntary, should genetic testing be obligatory (Reece, et al.
Critics may argue that there are moral and ethical problems associated with this novel technique, but for the most part scientists realize the importance this advancement will have. Gene therapy may be the key to curing dozens of diseases, and has endless possibilities, but more research is needed before its safe or accepted as common practice.
Somatic gene therapy is currently being researched more aggressively due to ethical and technical complications with germline gene therapy. Technical Aspects Gene therapy began with the Human Genome Project. The Human Genome Project has found gene locations for many diseases. Among the diseases that have been found Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, ADA deficiency, and two genes for breast cancer are just a few examples. After a disease-causing gene is found, correcting it is the next logical step.
While embryo stem cell research may one day provide treatments for many diseases, including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, paralysis and cancer, ethical consideration must be addressed in order for scientists to utilize human embryos for medical research. The purpose of this paper is to inform the reader about the stem cells and research involving embryonic stem cells and others, and to address some of the ethical and moral considerations. It is important to understand the basic concepts and terminology. The following section will give definitions, types and origins of stem cells. It will then be followed by further discussion of embryo stem cells, giving specific attention to their pluripotent characteristics and differences from adult stem cells.
This generates important issues concerning the participation of these patients in research especially under the light of the ethical principle of autonomy. There are a number of cases when this position is relevant: research involving health risks for the patient, minimal benefits compared with the risks, or the use of placebo. The second view advocates the merits of research: AD research cannot be done without AD patients in all the stages of their disease. This is an indubitable fact, because how else can one track the development of the disease (especially the characteristic biological changes)? By invoking the argument of scientific progress and the possibility of finding a cure, the participation of Alzheimer’s disease patients in research is no longer a matter of possibility but of absolute necessity.
We now have the knowledge and the technology to treat ourselves , our children, and the future generations. In order to make an educated decision, one must be aware of gene therapy itself. When making such a decision of whether to use gene therapy or not it would be beneficial to understand the technical aspects of gene therapy. It is also important to understand how gene therapy treats an individual, what it can be used to treat, and the previous trials and successes of the use of gene therapy. Or a person may find it worthwhile to know how the public perceives gene therapy and the overall consensus on its usage.
All advancements in science have led to positive and negative results, yet, the rewards of genetics greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Mankind is entering a new era in medicine—genetic engineering—one that has received criticism. As the field of genetics inevitably becomes integrated with medical practice, people may continue to protest against what they believe genetic engineering will unleash on our society. Rather than allowing fear and ignorance to derail one of the most humane efforts underway, scientists and the society must find bridges of communication and understanding, through education, to promote the benefits of genetic engineering.
To conclude, although gene therapy can cure a wide variety of diseases which cannot be cured by traditional medicine, and patients can get permanent cure without rejections, it can be high-risk and immoral. The negative effects of gene therapy lead to the shrink of the number of volunteers, and many trials have been forced to cease. The Gene therapy's potential to revolutionize medicine in the future is exciting, and hopes are high for its role in curing and preventing childhood diseases.
There are many moral and ethical decisions that need to be considered before gene therapy can be widely accepted. Do we have the right to change a person’s genetics, especially before they are born? Do we know enough to confidently insert or delete genes without detrimental consequences down the road? If we have the ability to help people who have disabilities or diseases, is it ethical to withhold and not treat the patient? I believe human gene therapy is a good and useful tool for medicine and needs to be developed because it posses the ability to help and cure people from ailments that degrade their quality of life.
Overall, medical practice is carried out when physicians identify health concerns, e.g., diseases, mental disorders, and physical injuries, and provide treatments for patients in order to properly cure them of their maladies. Medical practice should be based on science—specifically, scientific research focused on discovering medical treatments—, ethical considerations regarding the wellbeing of patients that limit science, and intuition. However, because science is limited by ethical considerations and scientific evidence is sometimes unavailable, then the most important basis should be physicians’ intuition influenced by their past medical experience. On the whole, science plays a major role in the realm of medicine, as it is the foundation for the creation of new treatments and advancement of the medical field’s healing capability. Science is defined as field of knowledge based on discovering the truth about nature through formulating hypotheses and conducting research in an objective manner (Ehrenreich 19-20).