Genetic Engineering - The Future of Gene Therapy

Genetic Engineering - The Future of Gene Therapy
Often, television will portray the future as people relying on robots and machinery to do the work and tell them what needs to be done and when. As farfetched as it may have sounded years ago, this type of technology is taking its steps into the real world. The future of medicine is being rushed in by a wave of new technology. A whole new type of therapeutics will be on the market. Among these advances health care and insurance could be drastically affected. These are the topics described in the following articles.
According to an article titled ?Genetics is the Future of Medicine? by Joseph D?Allegro, gene therapy is in the line-up for tomorrow?s medicine. Once the human Genome Project has been completed, the data will be used to understand genetic disorders better. Once this is completed, information from genetic tests will become part of people?s medical records. However, the data uncovered in this testing will only be able to say whether or not someone is predisposed to genetic conditions, not whether the person will actually show symptoms of the disease. Today, genetic screening for conditions averages $100 to $500, but some checks such as breast cancer can be as high as $2,000. D?Allegro also stated that experts predict the cost of testing in ten years to be much cheaper.

Genetic screening data, could cause problems for those who choose to be screened. The problem is insurance. Many states have made laws preventing health insurers from discriminating against customers solely based on the information found in genetic screening. Life insurers, on the other hand, have had less legal debate except in Vermont. This is the only state that has a law which prevents life insurers from ordering genetic screens to see if applicants are predisposed to certain genetic disorders. Spokesman for the American Council of Life Insurance, Herb Perone, is concerned about laws which limit insurers to accessing gene screen data because it could affect their ability to decide the level of risk of a person. Though life insurers are not pushing for genetic testing, the agencies would like the information to be accessible if testing becomes widely popular.

During the twenty-first century, health care providers and their therapies will have an outlook on genetic disorders consisting of a ?predict, prevent, and manage? motto. Clement Bezold states in his article ?Health Care Faces a Dose of Change?, that using the information found in the Genome project, doctors will be able to adjust behavior, environment, and other precursors of disease in order to prevent it from surfacing. By the year 2010, it is predicted that people who are susceptible to genetic disorders will have a low cost bio-monitoring device, an example being a wristwatch that provides the status of the patient?s health. Health care providers will supply in home systems which helps diagnosis and aid in pursuit of chosen health goals. These customized machines are called health coaches. This device will help encourage preventive actions by a user.

Therapeutics in today?s world could be something of the distant past, as genetics is exploding. The wave of new treatments will be on the market for the commoner within years. The cost of screening to see if someone carries the gene for a disease with decrease with time and gained information. Combining treatments of the future with current medicine, it should be easier for most people to maintain proper health. Health care could be altered in a sense that no one has experienced before. These advancements will help in extending the lifespan of people and could prevent disease before they arise, being a major technological breakthrough for man-kind.

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