Advantages of Human Genetic Engineering
Genetic engineering in its present form has been around for approximately twenty five years. The dictionary defines human genetic engineering as the alteration of an individual's genotype with the aim of choosing the phenotype of a newborn or changing the existing phenotype of a child or adult. There are many social consequences that are associated with genetic engineering which has caused much debate from its beginning in 1970s. The benefits of human genetic engineering are endless, the most predominant advantages include curing genetic diseases, increasing human immunity, and the production of more effective pharmaceuticals.
The most promising benefit of human genetic engineering is gene therapy. Gene therapy is the medical treatment of a disease by repairing or replacing defective genes or introducing therapeutic genes to fight the disease. Over the past ten years, certain autoimmune diseases - diseases resulting from a disordered immune system reaction - and heart disease have been treated with gene therapy. Many diseases, such as Huntington's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, or. ALS, and cystic fibrosis are caused by a defective gene. The hope is that soon, through genetic engineering, a cure can be found for these diseases by either inserting a corrected gene, modifying the defective gene, or even performing genetic surgery. Eventually the hope is to completely eliminate certain genetic diseases as well as treat non-genetic diseases with an appropriate gene therapy.
Gene therapy researchers are also studying ways to improve a patient's immune response to cancer. In this approach, the treatment is used to stimulate the body's natural ability to attack cancer cells. In one method, researchers take a small blood sample from a patient and insert genes that will cause each cell to produce a protein called a T-cell receptor, or TCR, which is responsible for recognizing antigens and...