Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eight Babies!

I am currently taking a course in Gene Therapy.  For those that do not know, gene therapy consists of taking a message (a.k.a gene) and placing it inside a package (a.k.a. vector).  This beautifully packaged message is then injected into people that have disease.  The goal is that this new message will correct the broken messages in the body and heal the disease.  Gene therapy is being tested to treat a large variety of diseases. 

Yesterday in class we were talking specifically about treating brain and spinal cord diseases.  Mid-way through the lecture, the instructor began speaking about various non-gene therapy treatments of Parkinson's disease.  Here is what he said,

The use of fetal stem cells injected into the brains of patients with Parkinson's is a complete success.  In order to do this, a fetus is developmentally tracked. Then at exactly the right time in development, the fetus is aborted and the developing brain cells are extracted from the fetus.  It takes 8 aborted fetuses to give one patient this treatment.  Unfortunately, the number of abortions performed are declining.  This is why we need an alternative method of treatment such as gene therapy.

I couldn't decide if I wanted to cry or throw up.


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