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Is Gene Therapy Emerging From Technologi
The idea of gene therapy has been around since at least the early 1970s. In 1972, an article by Theodore Friedmann and Richard Roblin advanced the concept of treating genetic diseases by replacing defective endogenous DNA with exogenous “good” DNA. However, these authors concluded that it was premature to begin gene therapy studies in humans because of lack of basic knowledge of genetic regulation and of genetic diseases, and for ethical reasons. They did, however, propose that studies in cell cultures and in animal models aimed at development of gene therapies be undertaken. Such studies–as well as abortive gene therapy studies in humans–had already begun as of 1972.
However, bluebird bio’s cellular approach may enable it to circumvent many of the pitfalls of gene therapy. Other gene therapy companies may also possess enabling technologies that can help drive the gene therapy field up the technology development curve.
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