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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Gene therapy??

Like some of you may already know, my oldest niece has cystic fibrosis. While surfing to the Spark people site(I will talk about that latter this month) I read this passage throught their description of the disease:
Other treatments are being tested, including gene therapy, which involves using an inhaled spray to deliver normal copies of the cystic fibrosis gene to the lungs. Gene therapy is being tested in several medical centers nationwide, but has not been approved for general use. Also, medications are being tested to correct a defective protein, called the CFTR protein, which is made at the command of the cystic fibrosis gene. The defective CFTR protein is responsible for the problems with salt and water regulation that lead to thickened secretions.
I proud of the fact they are trying new treatment for a better way of treating the people who have it. But I am very aware that this therapy, even if might be proven acurate, has something to do with genes. Genes are what makes ON what she is. They are trying to change the genes code, their DNA!!! They have to be really carefull with that!!
Even if it does miracle in a present time, did they calculate the reaction and consequence on the patient in 5 years? 10 years? The rest of their life?
When it comes down to DNA, I don't think we should play god with it, even if in this case, it could help my ON get a normal life. It's something so tricky and complicated!! And I'm afraid that someday, we realised that we have done much more wrong with that genes modification than what the disease we were trying to stop.
Some feed back here!! And I give you full right to disagree!! And if you know someone that genes therapy has work for him/her, please tell me!!!
And if you want the full article here is the link:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...They are trying to change the genes code, their DNA!!!..."

No they are not.
They are adding a correct copy to the existing defective one. It is like having a crutch when you have a broken leg. The crutch does not change you, it helps you. In this case, your niece ON will need the crutch for the rest of her life.

Long term studies on most drugs/therapies are rare. The birth control pill for instance, it is 50 years old, plus or minus, new side effects come to light each year.
In the long run, more often than not, the world does get better with each new drug/therapy. There are sometimes mistakes. The price of progress.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Rhet, by the way, ON is for older niece, since both have the same initial...
Even if that part of her genes is not working well, we have to be very careful, since the shortness of each gene on the chromosome , I'm afraid that it might hurt another important gene on that chromosome!!

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The genetic compliment of the human genome is very redundant.
Many copies of each gene.
The ability of the cell to transcribe a gene sequence is robust.
I have a Bachelor's degree form the University of Toronto in Molecular Genetics. I can't explain in laymans terms here, but the insertion of a correct copy of a defective gene will not hurt the surrounding DNA

10:10 AM  
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11:21 AM  

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