Gene therapies could offer long-term fixes for a host of incurable illnesses – except that many people’s immune systems react to them. So researchers are looking for ways to help the treatments sneak past our antibodies.
Challenge yourself to dive deeper into this topic with videos, news articles and (if you’re up to it) some academic papers that explore the financial and practical restrictions around gene therapy. Do you think gene therapy can ever work for everyone?
In this TED Talk, Jennifer Adair addresses the practical limitations that are restricting access to gene therapy.
This interview with gene therapy expert Alexander Vos also considers the challenge of funding these treatments.
In the news
In 2015, Elizabeth Parrish flew to Colombia to receive an experimental gene therapy to stop ageing. Read the full story here.
This 2013 Wired article follows the “fall and rise” of gene therapy researcher James Wilson.
In this 2015 feature in the Washington Post, gene therapy patient Allison Corona shares her experience of her treatment.
This article from 2000 captures the moment that the gene therapy field was forced to go back to the drawing board after the death of patient Jesse Gelsinger in 1999.
This 2010 essay uses new evidence to reflect on what can be learned from the death of Jesse Gelsinger.
For more specific insight into the challenges of developing gene therapies for haemophilia, head to this 2019 article.
More from Mosaic
In ‘How close are we to a cure for Huntington’s?’, Peter Forbes explores the treatments being developed to treat the condition, including a gene therapy that could result in a lifetime cure from a single dose.
In ‘Genetics: risk or destiny’, design studio Information is Beautiful take a visual approach to exploring the complex relationship between our health, genes, lifestyle and environment.
Linda Geddes’s story on the Deciphering Developmental Disorders study explores how next-generation sequencing has enabled young children with genetic disorders to receive a disease diagnosis.