What to know about genetic enhancement
Genetic enhancement, or gene therapy, has been used to enhance human intelligence and make certain diseases less dangerous.
The FDA says it’s only been tested on children and adults, but the agency said it’s a safe and effective treatment.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is genetic enhancement?
Gene therapy is a medical procedure where cells are genetically altered and implanted into the body.
Unlike a genetic test, which is used to test for genetic defects, gene therapy is used by the government to treat conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and many other conditions.
Genetic therapy is also used in a number of countries to treat genetic disorders, such as Tay-Sachs disease, which affects a certain group of genes in the human body.
Is genetic enhancement legal?
In a 2014 study, the FDA determined that there were two ways to legally use gene therapy.
In the first method, a person would be implanted with a gene and a protein that would be delivered into the bloodstream.
The procedure would then trigger a response that would result in the cells being targeted to the correct gene.
This would give the cells the ability to create more cells, potentially increasing their ability to produce more copies of themselves.
In the second method, which was approved in March 2019, the patient would receive the gene therapy directly from the lab.
This procedure would give a person the ability that their body produces its own copy of the gene.
In this method, the cells are engineered to have a gene that is present in their DNA, rather than a protein from a lab.
The FDA has yet to approve gene therapy for use in humans.
How long does gene therapy last?
Genetic enhancement is only used in humans, and it’s limited to the body’s cells.
The first treatment of this type to be approved was approved for use on humans in 2011, and the FDA says there are currently no treatments that can be administered to other animals.
Are there any side effects?
There have been few side effects associated with gene therapy in humans so far.
However, some people have reported feeling sick and feeling sluggish, headaches, and memory problems.
A person who is genetically enhanced is not allowed to consume any foods containing the protein that is injected into their bodies.
This restriction also prevents the body from using any medications or supplements that may be beneficial to the gene that’s being treated.
Can people with certain genetic conditions take part in gene therapy?
Yes, genetic enhancement can help those who have certain genetic diseases, including those with Huntington’s disease and Tay-sachs, as well as people with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or diabetes.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends genetic enhancement as a treatment for genetic disorders for people over the age of 65 with Huntington, a rare genetic condition.
The NIH also recommends that people with Tay- sachs and Huntington’s should take part as well.
What are some side effects of gene therapy that I should know about?
The FDA says that side effects include: •Soreness, redness, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat, or stomach.
•Pain or discomfort during or after the procedure.
—Associated Press, Brianne Nadeau, Jan. 22, 2021Gene therapy does not cure cancer.
There have been no FDA-approved treatments to treat cancer.
How do I get genetic enhancement tested?
Anyone who wants to test their genetic makeup for genes related to obesity or diabetes should go to their nearest health care provider.
The testing is usually done through a private genetic counseling office, which charges $100 for a two-hour consultation.
The office is staffed by a genetic counselor who will evaluate your family history and give you a personalized treatment plan.
Do people with genetic conditions need to be screened before I get gene therapy treatment?
No, there are no requirements that people have to be tested before receiving gene therapy treatments.
People can take part regardless of whether they have any of the following conditions:•Cancer.
The cancer must be advanced to a stage where there is a 50 percent or more chance of survival.•Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The condition must have progressed beyond the point where it can be treated with current treatments.•Epilepsy.
People with epilepsy should not take part.
If you’re having a seizure, you should seek medical help.
What happens if I have any side effect that I’m concerned about?
If you have any serious side effects after getting gene therapy therapy, you can report them to your health care practitioner.
The health care professional will work with your health plan to find out if you have the right genetic condition to receive gene therapy and then work with the government agency that is going to give you the treatment to determine if it’s legal to give it to you.