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Gene therapy is a relatively new form of treatment, one that is still being experimented and researched. It is the use of genes to treat diseases by inserting them into cells either to replace a mutated gene, to inactivate a mutated gene, or to fight against the disease. (Genetics Home Reference, 2014) As with any medical treatment, the advantages should be weighed against the disadvantages before going through with it.
There are two types of gene therapy: somatic gene therapy and germ line therapy. Somatic gene therapy is when the body cells, excluding the reproductive cells, are altered. This only affects the individual who undergoes gene therapy. Contrary to this, germ line therapy targets the reproductive cells. In this case, it not only affects the individual, but also his/her future generations. (Mandal, 2013)
There are primarily two methods of carrying out gene therapy. In the first method, the new gene is introduced using a virus, typically a retrovirus. In this method, the virus’s own genes are extracted and then human genes are inserted which include the one to be used for the gene therapy. This virus, called a vector, then transports the gene into the human cell and inserts it into the DNA. (Barlow-Stewart, June 2012) The second method of gene therapy involves the use of stem cells. Stem cells are altered in a way that enables them to accept new genes. The gene is then inserted into the stem cells which are put into the human body to grow and differentiate into healthy, functioning cells. (Barlow-Stewart, June 2012)
Gene therapy is very beneficial for many ways. Firstly, it is the only way of treating genetic disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. (Bose, 2009) Secondly,...

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...s. rich, that only the rich people have access to the most advanced medical treatments. (Bose, 2009) Secondly, gene therapy provides the possibility of altering one’s genes for the expression of superior characteristics – ones that that been glorified by the media. This idea that certain traits make one superior over another creates ethical and moral issues, as it suggests that all humans are not equal based on their physical characteristics. (Bose, 2009)
Without a doubt, gene therapy is a controversial issue in today’s society. While its benefits are very attractive to those with genetic disorders, there are also many risks associated that could lead to drastic effects. Ethical issues are also something that must be considered. There have been cases of both success and failure, but as experiments and research continue, the future of gene therapy looks promising.
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