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Progress of gene therapy

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Give your opinion as to why the progress of gene therapy has been disappointingly slow. Give several specific examples of actual failures in gene therapy trials. Suggest the most promising avenues for future gene therapy research. What is your personal opinion of the future of gene therapy?

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The expert gives the opinion as to why the progress of gene therapy has been disappointingly slow.

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Give your opinion as to why the progress of gene therapy has been disappointingly slow:

Gene therapy has indeed slowly progressed over the past decade and a half. It will require a great deal of work in order to meet with the promises it has made, but this is attainable as there is tremendous potential in this field. However, one must examine the history of gene therapy and the history of clinical trials. Nearly all have failed, which could explain why most never get approval to move beyond a phase I or phase II trial. Some have died in such trials due to rushing tests, poor delivery methods of genetic vectors, potential for vectors to cause disease, or problematic functioning of targeting specific cells or specific receptors. Ethical fears have also been a small factor stalling the advancement of gene therapy, though many are becoming far more ethically accepting of gene therapy as a legitimate field in which to target human diseases. The fear still exists though among many theologians and politicians regarding genetic engineering or the utilization of genetic therapy for cosmetic or reproductive purposes. Another factor though, and a strong one, is the factor of tackling RNA or DNA based viruses or the utilization of these as vectors for delivery of genetic materials since RNA retroviruses ( use the enzyme reverse transcriptase to create DNA from it's RNA ) and DNA based vectors can result in immune responses creating pathologies not already present. Tackling the big problems on such a microscopic level allowing for safe and effective delivery is still a large and basic problem in the progression of the gene therapy field. This, combined with the task of repairing DNA widespread throughout the body, will continue to hold progression to a slow pace. One final factor: Do scientists always follow the rules? A major setback in the field took place in 1999 in Pennsylvania when a patient died while being treated for liver failure. ...

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