WHAT ARE SOME ISSUES IN GENE THERAPY?
We saw in Choosing Targets for Gene Therapy and Challenges in Gene Therapy that gene therapy research is complex and has many variables. Though several clinical trials have shown promising results, much more research is needed to guarantee the safety and efficiency of gene therapy procedures. As gene therapy comes closer to becoming a medical treatment for genetic diseases, other ethical, legal, and social issues must be kept in mind.
What are the possible implications of gene therapy research to society? All of us - researchers, policymakers and the public - have a responsibility to explore the potential effects of gene therapy research on our lives so that we can make informed decisions.
For each new application of gene therapy research, we must consider:
Ethical, legal and social issues
There are several types of issues to consider as we think about gene therapy:
Ethical issues ask us to consider the potential moral outcomes of gene therapy research.
Legal issues require researchers and the public to help policymakers decide whether and how gene therapy research should be regulated by the government.
Social issues involve the impact of gene therapy research on society as a whole.
Some questions to ponder
The questions raised here have no clear right or wrong answer. Your responses will depend on your values, as well as on the opinions of those around you.
Supported by a Science Education Partnership
Award (SEPA) [No. 1 R25 RR16291-01] from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the
National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. The contents provided
here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official
views of NCRR or NIH.
eth-i-cal: (adj.) 1. Relating to morals, especially as concerning human conduct. 2. Morally correct.
le-gal: (adj.) 1. Of or based on law. 2. Appointed or required by law. 3. Permitted by law.
so-cial: (adj.) 1. Of or relating to society and its organization. 2. Concerned with the mutual relations of human beings. 3. Living in organized communities.
pol-i-cy: (n.) 1. Course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business or individual, etc.
Definitions adapted from the Oxford Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus.
Step Into Someone Else's Shoes!
Would your views be the same if you were a different person?
How might they change if you .
Can you think of other people who would have a special interest in gene therapy research? How might their views differ from yours?