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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…
Thanks to read firstly. My name is Fede (1980) from Barcelona (Spain), I have been diagnosed with a disease called Neurodegenerative Spastic Paraparesia, it means (more or less) that I’m losing the energy of my legs. It is really hard because it means a new physical limitations with only 35 years. I would love to try to fix it with a gen therapy, and I need to walk as I have walked all my life, play soccer, seal, walk, travel, beach, etc……… a large etc as you suppose.
Please, could we study this possibility? I’m working right now in an american tech consultancy, but I would give all I have (money and time) to help your company run aligned with this sort of goals or kind of therapies. If I should travel to EEUU, I will do it. I’m an economist and I have not a background in the medical research area.
Hello Dr. Hanley,
let me introduce yourself, my name is Francesco Rosato, Gyencologyst and Surgeon from Italy. I’m very impressed by your work on GHRH and I would like to discuss with you about the possibility to become the “patient n°2” in your study. Please answer me on my private mail. Thank you,
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.)
Bravo on the self administration of your therapy I’m particularly interested. In two subjects for. Gene therapy heart disease and reversing aging I had a mild heart attack in April no damage according to nuclear stress test and went immediately into the reversal diet and. Resarchonh what gene therapy had to offer I’m 45 and wanting to reverse both the disease and my aging if possible best regards. Jessie
What are your thoughts on CRISPR dcas9 or dead cas 9? It could be used to silent genes that release toxic proteins, not by splicing the gene, but silencing it. By not cutting the gene, there is less risk for off-target effects. Do you have any experience with dcas9?
Dear Dr. Hanley,
I’m a recent graduate with an MSc in biomedical sciences with a concentration in pharmacology. I believe gene therapy is absolutely the future of medicine and effective treatment, it’s something I’m very keen on and extremely interested in, and keep up with in relevant literature/papers. If there’s any way that I can help in any capacity, I would love to be a part of this.
Hello, I’m from Mexico. 22 years old.
I’m really fascinated about your researches and experiments. Just as comment sir, have you ever thought into changing the DNA in order to change the results of the pituitary gland and increase the height of a person, penis length, hands , strength, etc…?
I would be really interested to be a volunteer for your experiments too sir.
I’m interested in talking regarding therapies you wish to test as I am thinking of becoming a participant, but need to know exactly what is coming my way via less “open” conversation, male, 19, born with eczema condition (it has pretty much gone into non-existent remission as what I think happens in my family when we reach a point in our adolsensce but tends to be bad during childhood and preteens), higher than normal blood sugar, overweight a bit (not obese by any means but chubby def.), african american (i dont feel like naming all my ethnicites unless you need me to so it is mainly african and caucasian, maybe native american in there too as the main 3 more than likely), blood type AB+ I believe, that is all I know.
Anything else you need let me know if I am eligible, and if I am not or there is a further info needed please let me know via my email email@example.com
Hello sir, i am a 17 yrs old biology student from India.Recently i had gone through your hyper immunity project ( regarding the case of sir Tim Friede ). Actually i am writing this letter to you as i am very much keen to know more about this project.Sir, i will be very much gratefull if you provide me the information( experiments,how it occurs and why) regarding sir Tim Friede case till date.
I recently discovered an article you wrote concerning correlation between chimerism and being transgender or gay posted on medium.com in January 2018.
Have you considered conducting a study more recently? I understand that you’ve been discouraged in the past, perhaps something has changed that might allow the opportunity?
Do you have more information about this correlation that may not yet be easily found on the web?
I’m quite interested in your research into this matter.
Thanks so much
Not more than is in the paper, no. It costs a lot of money. Needs funding.
I’m an active and healthy 40 years old male, but I feel the difference between my body today and 20 years ago. Please, put me on the list for trials. I don’t have children and I am willed to sign any liability clauses.
Not at that stage now.
I would like to volunteer for gene therapy specifically for obesity. Would that be workable? I have a degree in chemistry and physics not so much biology but I get the gist and see the potential.
That requires funding. I wish I had a different answer.
I’m working on an Open Source wave bioreactor since before this pandemic. It was geared to produce some AAV vectors for genetic engineering and some much needed reagents.
Since the onset of the pandemic I realized it would be a very useful tool for producing reagents like TAq, and RT that are in short supplies so I’m accelerating that development. I got several talented people to work with me to see this project through. Besides just building the device it needs to be tested. I’m in the process of getting some CDs from FreeGenes and a Phusion plasmid. To really test it it for this newcomer we need a PCR machine and I have a couple and some capdid genes from this newcomer. Ideally the ones with sequences matching the CDC primers.
I was told you might have created something like that.
Here’s some info about the Wave bioreactor project if needed. http://specyal.com/diybio/bioreactor.html
I’ll take a look.
Hello Dr. Hanley,
I wondered if you had seen this post on the chimera hypothesis for homosexuality: https://web.archive.org/web/20111021190043/http://www.welmer.org/2008/07/14/the-chimera-hypothesis-homosexuality-and-plural-pregnancy/
It seems to outline a lot of interesting points in detail that perhaps you have or haven’t considered. Did you propose it first? The original post comes from September 2008 (of course, two people can propose the same theory and be unaware of one another).
The comment section is also interesting. Certain female cells in the male brain are not attacked because the immune system doesn’t get in there due to the blood brain barrier, hence we don’t see chimerism in the bodies of gay people. Interestingly, there are some studies about fluctuating asymmetry in gay men and so on which would appear to support the idea.
I was not aware of that post from 2008. My academic publication was 4 years later. http://www.hy-ls.org/index.php/hyls/article/view/57/0.html
I developed the hypothesis about dual gender chimerism around 2000 or a bit earlier. It was well formed in graduate school. I brought it up to a professor of mine who told me it would kill my career. So I waited until I was out of grad school. Truthfully, I thought it was so obvious that it someone else would write the paper, but after more than a decade went by, I decided it was time to get it into the world. There were more things I could have said, but for challenging hypotheses, academia is rather conservative, so I chose to keep it focused.
I fully support any technique to beat the disease called “death”. Death should be a voluntary choice.
I would appreciate a Twitter or Facebook or YouTube channel to follow your research.
Any aesthetic and moral objections against gene techniques to extend human lifespans such as overpopulation are being solved by colonizing other planets and yet unknown future insights into the fabric of the universe. Moral objections are based in our extremely limited knowledge at this moment in time.
All the best!
I can’t agree more about colonizing other planets.
These things tend to be glacially slow unfortunately. I wrote some things on IEET.org for a while.
https://archive.ieet.org/articles/hanley20150920.html – Death the Cunning Frontier
https://archive.ieet.org/articles/hanley20151227.html – Metformin, Gamma Rays or Chocolate?
https://archive.ieet.org/articles/hanley20150919.html – Our Mind Meld Future: We Are the Singularity
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