By Casey Ward | United States
People’s choice to modify their body is theirs alone. Body modification has been around for thousands of years and as technology advances so to do our methods. We started by giving piercings and tattoos but today we have implants, reconstructive surgery and now gene therapy. The government still tries to regulate the old methods even today. Yet, with gene editing on the rise, we cannot allow the government to control this.
Families around the world are supporting the movement, betting on gene therapy in hopes that it will cure a long list of rare diseases that plague their children. But throughout time, the FDA has made effective treatments harder to get. For example, take the case of Barry Marshall. He and his partner discovered inflammatory bacteria which led to ulcers and stomach cancer. However, Dr. Marshall was not allowed to treat this infection without years of studies while people were dying, so he drank infected broth. When he developed ulcers, they were prepared with a cure, proving him right and saving people from agony. Today we see this same trend in gene therapy. People are dying and in need of a cure, while others dictate the use of this technology.
The government has no right to impose what they see as morally right upon others. The regressive policies of the U.S. will leave us behind in the end. When debating the legality of such policies the supreme court’s take years that patients don’t have in order to decide what is ethically right. Coupled with the long history of governments committing their own atrocities, they lose credibility. Even big pharma is backing gene therapy as a cheaper way to cure rare diseases which become more common as people age.
Gene therapy is one of our best ways of extending life. With people like Elizabeth Parrish of BioViva pushing the limits by going around the FDA to be “patient zero” in gene editing in the attempt to extend her life. The benefits of gene therapy should be available to everyone if they choose to.
Whether trying to cure rare diseases or extend life, in no case should it be the government’s choice.