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I am a Year 13 student at Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Wellington, New Zealand. For one of our biology projects, we have to choose a topic that comes with ethical issues, and write about people’s/organisations’ points of view. I have chosen gene therapy. I have done a lot of research about what gene therapy is and how it works, but I’m am struggling to find an actual viewpoint on whether gene therapy research should be continued or not and why, and whether gene therapy should be available to the public or not and why. Would you be able to help me with this please? It would be great to have your opinion on this.
Pretty clearly, my opinion is yes. Gene therapy has the potential to transform human life experience. Instead of treating disease with drugs, we can change the person so they don’t need them. That is the vision. Transformation of human lives. We can also potentially augment human lives, which will change our world a great deal, I think for the better. And there are many conditions that cannot be treated any other way.
New BBC Science Documentary
I am writing from the BBC Science department where we are producing a new medical series for BBC Two and worldwide broadcast.
This series will explore the science behind medical discoveries that have been inspired by people with some of the rarest conditions in the world.
By revealing the stories of people whose lives have been shaped in a very different way to the norm the series aims to gain a better understanding of how our body works. This could be as a result of a medical breakthrough or innovation.
Presented by surgeon Gabriel Weston the programmes will combine interviews with people who have a medical condition or extraordinary physiological trait together with the scientists who are exploring this area of medicine.
We are potentially looking to include the story of Tim Friede, the man who is able to resist snake venom. If there is any way we could be put in contact with Tim, that would be so appreciated. We are also particularly interested in speaking to scientists such as Dr Brian Hanley who have previously spoken to the media about the studies.
If you would like to know more please get in touch at this email address and we can arrange a time for a call to discuss the project in more detail.
I will also call and leave a message should you wish to phone back on +44141 422 7858
I look forward to hearing from you.
Do you take volunteer test subjects? I read that you tested yourself. That’s belief in your research
Thanks. I planned that from the start to ensure I would be as careful as possible.
If you ever need any volunteers for experiments, let me know.
I will put you on the list.
I’m interested in trying your anti-aging therapies.
How would I go about taking part?
I can add you to a list, unless you are really quite wealthy. From your photo, you look a bit too young, but not everyone uses a current photo.
Love the science. I support the self administered treatment. I was wondering why you did not try the HGH plasmids on HeLa (or similar) cells first? I know they are way different than regular cells, but I would think HeLa cells have the basics needed to make the proteins. The hormone levels can be measured over time and controls used.
Any ways just a thought take it or leave it…
I am interested in learning about the gene therapy experiments. I think the possibility for cures to not just diseases but everyday life is astronomical. Imagine injecting genes to help alter ones height and growth.
Lots of possibilities. Those two things though, there is no reason to think it would happen after adolescence is over and primary growth stops.
More interesting things than this.
Sure. But I don’t think many people would try to give that to you at this stage of development of gene therapy. The risk wouldn’t be worth the benefit, which is cosmetic. It would also be very expensive. But, should be doable with millions.
Hello, I’m from Brazil, 41 years old, and I’m really interested in trying your anti-aging therapies.
How can I be part of the program?
I can put you on a list. The most valuable thing now is contributing to development.
Are there any athlete who are doing gene doping?
If I knew, I couldn’t say. Privacy laws.
Can you construct a plasmid to produce the enzyme telemerase?
I am a Neuroscience/Bio student. I have been investigating ordering a human plasmid vector and altering the open reading frame for insertion into human cells. How risky is this procedure and what precautions did you need to take specifically? As others have mentioned, I am extremely interested in being a volunteer. Specifically, there was a paper published this year establishing 52 candidate genes for intelligence. I think without some willing to take well measured risks, we hinder the rate at which we find conclusive results.
It’s not quite as simple as that. Delivery is a huge problem. There are quite a few risks, and it varies for each gene, and for the method of delivery and where you want it to go. Nervous system is particularly difficult and risky because of the blood-brain barrier, and that it is a quasi-immune privileged site. (The brain has got very fine ducts and it can inflame and fight disease, but not as other tissues do.) The nervous system is also more complicated than once thought, since immune system cells have been shown to be necessary for learning. (Which may moot the question of which came first, the immune synapse or the nerve synapse.)
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