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Diabetes

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Gene therapy for diabetes

One of the possible future treatments for type 1 diabetes is gene therapy. Researchers have identified a faulty gene which makes people with the gene more likely to develop type 1 diabetes. In the future, this gene could be replaced by a fully-working version of the gene. This could prevent people from getting diabetes.

In theory, gene therapy could even be used on embryos before they were implanted into the womb during in vitro fertilisation treatment.

Is this a step too far for science or a great leap forward for medicine?

I don't think there is any problem with doing research into gene therapy. The scientists tell us that it could cure loads of diseases and that can only be a good thing.

I mean if I'd found that there was something wrong with me then I would want to get it sorted out. If that means getting someone else's genes that would be fine, if they were working properly and solved the problem.

I know some people think it would be like making new mutants or something but I think the scientists know what they're doing. And anyhow, there are laws to stop them doing anything dangerous.

I think it's a good thing.

I'm not sure about all this genetic engineering and gene therapy stuff. I'm not sure if it should be allowed or not.

I think it's worth trying out new treatments if they could help people in the future. Especially if it means they get to live longer, or if they have a very poor quality of life without the treatment.

I think there's still a lot of research needed to be done before scientists can be sure it's completely safe for humans. But then, medicine only progresses by trying new treatments, even if the early patients die. That's what happened with heart transplants and look at how many lives they save now.

I'm not completely convinced. I mean, gene therapy is manipulating genes and is a bit like interfering with nature. And I'm not sure that is the right thing to do.

What do you think about gene therapy?

  • What are the benefits and risks of developing gene therapy?
  • How would you feel if you had a genetic disorder that could not be treated in any other way?
  • Should research into it be allowed or should it be banned?