To those PhD students of gene therapy….
Perhaps those who have been studying gene therapy and are “banging your head against a wall” should consider switching disciplines and study bioethics instead. With a little research you would find out why gene therapy has rightly so been targeted by public watchdog groups.
But first….answer this question….After studying gene therapy, would YOU undergo an arthritis gene therapy trial if you had only mild to moderate arthritis that didn’t impact your lifestyle to any large degree? I don’t think so. You know very well that the unknown effects and risks of gene therapy are too high to experiment on such a group. Unfortunately, physicians and scientists in gene therapy have been pushing these high risk technologies on the unsuspecting and uneducated public.
This doesn’t mean that all of you studying GT are bad and do not have good intentions. But the leaders in your world of gene therapy, who have the power, influence and money and who act as if they do not value any life but their own (and who would no doubt sell their own sister into sex slavery for a publication in Science or Nature) have given gene therapy a terrible image. Unfortunately these “powers that be” have more influence than your good intentions.
And here is another little trinket of information for you on more of a personal level... Do you know that if one of your lab mates accidentally (or intentionally for that matter) exposed you to an infectious “gene therapy” agent and you became ill, you would have no rights to the appropriate genetic information regarding that exposure which is necessary for you to get health care?
It’s true. Biologists have little exposure information rights and healthcare rights when they go up against “trade secrets” or patent rights under any circumstances even if they are ill from an exposure from work. Science has not only lost sight of public health issues as it pushes its “touted advances” forward, but it even ignores the health and safety rights of its own worker bees.
You see, science is causing its own problems and delaying your PhD research, not the watchdog groups or public who expose them. The public is alarmed at what it sees within the scientific community. Scientists working in gene therapy and embryonic stem cell technologies are some of the worst offenders in the biotech community by promoting obscure benefits and ignoring the dangerous risks. These scientific communities are pushing technologies forward without apt biosafety and bioethical consideration. They are losing the trust of the American people and have lost the trust of many who have become so concerned that they are genuinely compelled to become watchdogs.
If you are troubled with your studies in gene therapy, perhaps you should consider a switch to a PhD in bioethics. At this time, you would do the community a greater service. The need is great. The scientific community and public are in desperate need of well trained and honest bioethicists (who hopefully have the integrity not to be bought off by big business and big money). Good luck in your career. And whatever direction you choose, may it lead you to truth and not blindness.