Washington D.C., Sep 7, 2017 / 02:02 am
A new genetic modification therapy designed for treating pediatric leukemia is a promising development, said a Catholic bioethicist.
Gene therapies have garnered public attention for their potential medical significance, and because of problematic research procedures surrounding their development and the moral questions they raise.
However, the new treatment, called Kymriah, is a hopeful development and a morally licit use of genetic modifications in medicine, said Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., of the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
Because the therapy only uses matured cells from the patient, Fr. Pacholczyk told CNA, it does not entail the same ethical problems as other forms of gene therapy under investigation – including therapies which destroy human embryos or make modifications of cells which can be passed onto future generations. Instead, developing therapies which make "genetic changes to help our immune system do better what it is supposed to do, namely identifying and eliminating various dangers from the body, is a praiseworthy goal," he said.