The Instigator
Hannahgettes
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
loloriggs
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Gene Therapy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/6/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 927 times Debate No: 48510
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (0)

 

Hannahgettes

Pro

Gene Therapy could help so many people create a better life. Gene therapy is a technique that allows doctors to treat a disorder by inserting genes into a patients cell instead of using drugs or surgery. This new way of treating genetic disorders and other things as well has the potential to help millions of people have a chance at a better life. Many people believe that there are a lot of ethical problems that come along with gene therapy, such as "playing God". They think that we are playing God by altering human beings in a way that we have neither the right or the skill to do. I strongly believe that giving people a chance at having a good life without their sickness getting in the way is so much more important than satisfying the beliefs of people who think gene therapy is ethically wrong because we are doing things that only God has the authority to do.
loloriggs

Con

Gene therapy so far has been known to help people in times of trouble, like healing damaged parts of the body and curing diseases by inserting genes into cells. The molecular scientists use a tool called Viral Vectors to do so. This is how they transport genetics into certain cells. So, I understand why it seems important and could later advance to become very helpful in the future. A couple examples of gene therapy gone wrong are Jesse Gelsinger and Lindsay Karlin. Jesse had a rare liver disease called Orthanine Transcarbamylamylase. He was brought to gene therapy because he wanted it gone for good. But, he had to take 32 pills a day and his liver was much too weak for the treatment and he died 3 days afterwards. Lindsay Karlin got gene therapy and she had some improvements but they lasted about a week or two and was unsuccessful there are many risk factors to getting gene therapy like arthritis, severe immune reactions, heart disease and diabetes. The other side of this argument may say that this can help heal people and cure them and their future family but really this can cause developmental problems through their kids and the treatment doesn't last very long at all. My opinion is that gene therapy should not be used as much as others believe it should. It is too dangerous and the outcome is hard to decipher.
Debate Round No. 1
Hannahgettes

Pro

The benefits of gene therapy are demonstrated by it's successful use against genetic diseases. One example of someone who has benefited greatly from the use of gene therapy is an 18 year old man with a severe blood disease called Beta Thalassaemia. This man had been receiving regular blood transfusions since the age of three because he was producing unhealthy red blood cells. Stem cells from his bone marrow were treated with a gene to correct the faulty one. They were than put back into his body, where gradually they began to produce healthy red blood cells. He no longer needs blood transfusions, and he is living a normal life. The team who performed his gene therapy said "At present, approximately three years post-transplantation, the biological and clinical evolution is remarkable and the patients quality of life is good." Many other people have also already benefited from gene therapy. Gene therapy has greatly improved the vision of four individuals who had suffered from hereditary blindness. The treatment was also proven safe in the four people who received the genes.

No new technology has ever been developed without risk. When the Salk vaccine was created, many people were against it because of the risk that a small number of people would get polio. But now we are so grateful we have it, for it has saved so many lives and cases of polio are now very rare because of this vaccine that people didn't support at first. Many cancer medications also had a very high risk factor at first, and then they were developed further and proven to be very successful. There are always setbacks and successes, and people learn from these and are able to produce amazing life changing things because of it. Gene therapy may not be perfect yet, but it has the potential to change lives and families. It protects individuals from disease, it protects people who may not be born yet from disease, and it helps us further understand the way humans work.

Many people also have ethical concerns about gene therapy. Most of which have to do with God, or with discrimination. I already mentioned this, but many people believe that altering the genetic make up of someone is "playing god". They believe that we do not have the skill or the authority to change someone's genes, even if it does mean that their life would be drastically improved. Also, some people believe that gene therapy is a way of attempting to improve God's work. They believe that we need to be satisfied with what we were given, and not try and change ourselves. I can understand how this could be an issue for people with strong religious views, but I believe that giving someone a chance at a normal, healthy life is far more important than honoring God, and letting people suffer. Brandi Rocholl stated in his article that many people just don't fully understand gene therapy and how life changing it can be for so many people. "I think more people would be on board it they chose to educate themselves about gene therapy, and if they understood how life changing and amazing it can be for individuals and families." Another issue people have with gene therapy is discrimination. Some people think that people performing gene therapy are discriminating against people who have genetic disorders because they are trying to get rid of their condition. When in reality, they are trying to get rid of their condition to give them a chance at a better life.
loloriggs

Con

The human condition can be severely affected by genetic therapy. There have been several accounts of deaths shortly after the treatment and you can also form new diseases. The diseases are as follows: Tumors, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes,etc. Risks also include the short term effects of the treatment. They don"t last long and you will have to go in to get the treatment more times than you would like to. That will cost you way too much money for short term effects. Not to mention how much medication and drugs you will have to take making you feel sick and drowsy. Our environment can be changed completely if gene therapy begins to work and becomes popular. Society will have less exception to those with a disorder or disease. Less people will have these genetic issues if the genetic therapy would actually work and have long term effects unlike they do now. Also, the cost of genetic therapy is too high! The richer people of society would have access to this treatment leaving the lower class with less likelihood of paying for it. (Which is a good thing in this case.)

Ethical issues can occur as well, like changing your skin tone. Messing with genetics can mess with natural human abilities like how tall you are, the color of your eyes, athletic ability. And the generation that follows wouldn"t have the choice to get this therapy rather than another kind of traditional therapy. Once you think about it, changing your genetics is like playing with a human"s looks and those think it is like playing God. If you were given a disease you should treat it with surgeries and move on, but if you attempt to erase the disease from your body, it"s like playing creator. Once you get genetic therapy, don"t think the rest of your family will be okay. Because of genetic therapy, there are developmental problems with kids. Gene therapy on somatic cells can cause issues with reproductive system of the baby . Transferring genes into a fertilized egg cell can start the theory of "designer babies" which let parents decide what kind of traits they want their kid to have which is also like playing God. This is unnecessary!

Remember Jesse Gelingser? Well, one kind of treatment is trying to make the immune system fight off the diseased cells, but that can be very problematic because the system can get over-worked and can cause bad reactions. Also, his liver was much too weak for the treatment he was given! If your disease is severe (which is usually the case if you"re getting gene therapy) then it is more dangerous if it wasn"t as severe. He had to take 32 pills a day, even though he was getting his genetics changed and mutated. Medication is already risky to take considering overdoses and how careful you must be in order to have them work successfully. If Jesse"s immune system was already trying to work with the genetics that have been changed, imagine the kind of struggle and reactions his body had to 32 kinds of medication and mutated cells. Your body cannot function and his immune system practically died. So did he 3 days after his treatment. Genetic therapy is way too dangerous at the moment to continue! We need to do more research in order to help people without large risks of death and other disorders or diseases.
Debate Round No. 2
Hannahgettes

Pro

the concept of gene therapy arose in the 1960's, so it is a new technology for us. In the beginning of any technology, there will be cases when the patient isn't helped, or is even harmed. But no technology has ever been discovered and perfected without risks. It's just part of the process of developing something new. But when it is perfected, it will be able to help millions of families. Do you think that it would be possible for gene therapy to be effective if the future with further research and improvements to the technology? When gene therapy is developed further and there are less risks, would you still think the oppinions of people who don't think we have the skill or authority to use gene therapy are more important that helping save families and change lives? Do you believe that drugs and surgery are more effective then gene therapy? Why?

The only way to cure a genetic dissorder is to replace the defective gene with a healthy copy. So gene therapy is the only hope for people with genetic disorders. Gene therapy also has a number of advatages over drug therapy. Drug therapy can only relieve symptoms. It cannot fix the problem. gtherapy.co also states that, "If gene therapy targets the reproductive cells of carriers of such genetic disorders as cystic fibrosis, Parkinson"s disease, or cancer, it is possible that any children the carrier goes on to have would be free of the defective gene and on a bigger scale the disease can be wiped out completely."
Gene therapy can diminish the number of people effected with fatal genetic diseases such as cancer, parkinson's disease, cystic fibrosis, etc. Gene therapy is also the only way to insure that a defective gene will not pass through generations. So why are people opposed to gene therapy? I think that giving someone a chance at a normal life and a cure for their disease is more important than ethical issues, and the risks that come with gene therapy. Brandi Rocholl states in his article about gene therapy that, "I believe the reason that these people are opposed to gene therapy is because they see it as something foreign and scary. The reason people are scared is because they do not understand the technique. I think if scientists educate our society, many people would change their minds."
loloriggs

Con

I do think genetic therapy could be able to make a come back and possibly work in the future. But obviously is a work in progress, but don't you think that in 54 years we could have had more improvement? People who have opinions should not be compared to supposed "saving lives". This is not a poll! People believe what they want. If they think that only God should tamper with genetics then let them believe that! How would that get in the way of attempts at changing people's disorders. Also, if you didn't read closely in my last argument, I said that drugs are dangerous and should be very carefully prescribed. But so far, surgery has healed people without risks of new diseases or disorders. Genetic therapy hasn't. That is why I think we should leave it to original therapies before genetic therapy begins to actually work effectively.

As I meant to say in round 2 was, why do you think genetic therapy is better than traditional ways of healing? How many lives has genetic therapy actually saved? So far, surgeries have done well helping people lead a "normal life". And genetic therapy doesn't always rid the future family of disease or disorder. It can even cause birth defects and how "normal" is that? Wouldn't you rather just take original therapies like surgery and medication to treat your disease, or would you want to alter your genes with a low chance of it actually working? There are always people who are against certain research, or drugs, so how does this effect the study of gene therapy? After 54 years we should know what we are doing by now, without much risk at all!
Debate Round No. 3
Hannahgettes

Pro

First of all, people can believe what they would like to. I would just hate to see gene therapy stopped because of ethical/religious issues people have. I also think that you are completely missing the point, for it doesn't really matter how long it takes for gene therapy to be perfected. Of course people would like gene therapy procedures to have an outcome you can always rely on as soon as possible, but what matters is what people can get out of gene therapy when it is perfected. It's a complicated issue, and it will take time to perfect! As I stated in round three, gene therapy, surgeries, and drug therapy are all used to treat different things. You cannot remove a genetic disease or disorder through "traditional ways of healing" (drugs and surgeries). Genes cannot be altered by using surgery. In order to alter or replace a gene, you must use gene therapy. It is the only way and it is the only hope for many families. So, I don't think that gene therapy is better than surgery and drug therapy, but gene therapy is used for genetic disorders and it isn't possible for surgery to cure a genetic disorder. They are used for different things.

I couldn't find the exact number of lives gene therapy has saved, but it has cured over 200 leukemia cases. And it has cured many genetic disorders. And no, I wouldn't rather take medications or have surgeries to cure my genetic disease, for if I had one, surgeries and medications wouldn't work! Again, gene therapy is the only thing that can cure genetic disorders. Surgeries and medications will not do anything but possibly ease symptoms, which will not help the problem. Surgery and medications cannot alter or replace defective genes. Also, medication and surgery also come with many risks as well!

You state that you think gene therapy could be useful in the future, but you also state that you don't think it should be used to cure anything today. First of all, I have shown examples of how gene therapy is beneficial today. Secondly, the only way gene therapy will become more useful in the future (as you think it could be) is if we use it today and learn to understand it better. It won't improve on it's own. Also, in the second round you say that there have been several deaths due to gene therapy. I am aware of several deaths, but the deaths weren't caused by gene therapy, they were caused be the patient already being to sick to help. You also say that sometimes people must take medications after gene therapy treatment that make them feel sick and drowsy, and that this is a disadvantage of gene therapy. But they would have to be on medications for their disorder anyway, even without gene therapy. You later than say that taking medications is preferable to gene therapy, so you would need to take them no matter what you choose to do, taking medications a disadvantage of having a disease, not of going through gene therapy. You also say that it is do expensive and richer people would abuse the benefits of gene therapy and use it for cosmetic purposes, and poor people wouldn't be able to pay for it. This has nothing to do with the disadvantages of gene therapy, it has to do with unequal distribution of wealth. It is irrelevant. In round two you also say, "Once you get genetic therapy, don"t think the rest of your family will be okay. Because of genetic therapy, there are developmental problems with their kids." This makes it seem like every person who has gone through with genetic therapy will now have developmental problems with their kids. When in reality, more cases turn out effective than not. It also sounds like gene therapy is the only thing that can cause developmental problems, which we both know isn't true. You also talk about ethical issues, such as "designer babies" and changing your looks. This is not because of gene therapy. This is because some people may have the chance to abuse the use of gene therapy, and there are ways we can prohibit this.

One thing that really confused me was when you said, "Society will have less exception to those with a disorder or disease." What exceptions are you talking about? I cannot comprehend why anyone would want to have these exceptions in society instead of being cured and having their disease gone.
loloriggs

Con

Yes, I know that surgeries would not replace the diseased gene, but it would have less risks that we know of and I feel it would be safer that way. Also, I know they would have to take medicine for their disease anyway but would they take 32 pills a day? If we learn to understand gene therapy, how many people could that hurt or would be hurting? Yes there were several deaths and you want to know why they happened? Because their immune systems had a severe reaction to the modified genetics. Not only because they were already very sick. And when I said "society would be less excepting" was that so many people were "healed" or cured" because of gene therapy, the few who weren't, wouldn't have much respect or much of a chance to make friends or get a job.

You say gene therapy was developed in the 60's so it is new to us? It has been 54 years of failed attempts at diseases (other than your point of leukemia). You also say gene therapy is "the only hope for a genetic disorder." This is not true as depending on the disease or disorder there are other successful treatments they could do to help them. If we replace healthy cells into unhealthy cells how do you think their body will react? Badly that's how. If they are already sick they shouldn't be going through such a big process of changing genetics that will possibly make them worse. How many lives re scientists willing to handle just to research about gene therapy? You also said "to give them a chance at a normal life". Notice your word 'chance' considering what I have been saying about genetic therapy being unlikely to work. Also, if you do see results they only last about 1 week to 1 month! How many times are you wiling to try and change the traits you were born with to only have short lived results? Think of how many procedures and how much the cost would be that you would have to endure.

Do you have any other examples of a genetic disease that was cured other than leukemia? Because I keep seeing leukemia pop up and wonder if there were any others that have been saved. We should widen our horizon to more genetic disorders and diseases to heal. Unequal distribution of wealth doesn't have to do with genetic therapy, you are correct, but it exists and can cause harm to those who cannot afford it. That was my point. What do drugs have to do with genetic therapy other than the points I stated? You stated "drug therapy can only relieve symptoms". I stated that too many drugs were used in gene therapy for it to be safe.

Genetic therapy has been studied for 54 years and not many improvements have been made. People have died because of severe reactions to the modified cells. Even if there were improvements they only lasted a little while not completely ridding the patient of disease. Changing ones genetics should not be within our grasp considering they were born with certain traits and we don't have the authority to change them. Genetic therapy should not be used for there are too many risks involved in the treatment.
Debate Round No. 4
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