Critique of 'The ethics of Human Gene Therapy' by L Walters and J Gage Palmer

Essay by junior_punkUniversity, Bachelor'sB-, May 2004

download word file, 4 pages 5.0


The article 'The Ethics of Human Gene Therapy' by L Walters and J Gage Palmer is a report of the first human gene therapy experiments, and the ethical issues surrounding it. It is an account of the lives of the people -particularly two young girls- who received the therapy and the associated outcomes and impacts it had, both on her and her family's life, and that of the general public.

A major part of the article presents seven ethical questions that must be addressed during the reviewing of gene therapy research proposals, and answered by those responsible for overseeing the experiment.

These include considerations such as: the disease to be treated, alternative treatments available, the anticipated or potential benefit or harm from the procedure, fair and consensual selection of patients and how privacy and confidentiality issues will be dealt with.

The article itself is well structured and set out, clear, and easily understood by the reader with the assistance of titles and subheadings.

Any questions the reader may have are asked and answered within the parameters of the text.

The article reports the therapy's success, but is careful to summarise what could still possibly go wrong. Presented to the reader as a complete story from beginning to end, it is intertwined with facts and opinions from both sides of the coin. It is gripping, and maintains the interest of the reader, unlike many similar scientific reports of this nature.

Who is the paper written for?

The audience this article is aimed at is anyone from science students to professional research scientists to people who are interested in scientific breakthroughs and the positive and negative ethical issues surrounding it.

What the paper contributes to my understanding of Human Gene Therapy

The paper not only allows understanding of the disease...