A Comparison of Genetic Engineering in Gattaca to Modern Stem-Cell Research

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Searching for stem cell news on the internet reveals a never-ending amount of pages with web sites about breakthroughs in stem-cell research. Such articles included potential cures to diabetes, Parkinson's, leukemia, and various forms of cancer. This research could potentially lead to these terrible diseases' near end. In Andrew Niccol's Gattaca, a society is portrayed where there are no diseases due to advanced genetic engineering. This movie, based in the future, depicts couples that are able to basically hand-pick a perfect child. While modern technology has not evolved near as far as in Gattaca, stem-cell research is on the verge of creating a way to counter vicious diseases.

One development that seemed to relate to the movie is stem-cells being to treat new born babies who have Batten disease; a disease that creates for a lack of enzymes which "damages different parts of the brain and leads to seizures, blindness, loss of the ability to walk and speak and eventually death." While it is not a common disease, 1 in 100,000, this clinic's technological advancement could lead to preventing other fatal illnesses. Robert Steiner, head of the clinic's trial, hopes "that this clinical trial will provide insight into a potential treatment option for this tragic disease." The babies will have the stem-cells injected in to their brains by a doctor using a computerized map of the children's brains. They hope the injected stem-cells will disperse amongst the brain and pump out the much-needed enzymes. What differentiates this testing from other previous testing for various diseases is the use of brain stem cells. Brain stem-cells have not taken the initiatory to become actual brain cells, which allow the stem-cells to potentially become many different types of cells. In other trials using stem-cells to combat diseases such as Parkinson's and spinal cord injuries, mature brain cells, that are already on their way to becoming a specific type of cell,...
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