Friday, October 19, 2012

Gene Therapy: "The Forever Fix"

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By Saleem Rana

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Interview By Allen Cardoza

Allen Cardoza, the founder of the Answers for the Family Blog, welcomed author Ricki Lewis to this week's L.A. Talk Radio to discuss her latest book, "The Forever Fix." This is the first book of its kind to reveal the inside story of gene therapy. The narrative non-fiction book is a description of how gene therapy works and the science behind it.

About Ricki Lewis

Ricki grew up in New York City, earning her PhD in genetics from Indiana University in 1980 by working with mutant flies that had legs growing out of their heads. After writing several textbooks and thousands of magazine articles, she is most excited about her first narrative nonfiction book, "The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It." This is the story of a reborn biotechnology that gave the gift of sight to a young boy. In a compelling, novel-like style, Ricki chronicles the ups and downs of gene therapy through the eyes of the children, parents, researchers, and the sheepdogs that have experienced it.

Ricki is a genetics counselor in Schenectady, NY and an instructor of the Genethics online Masters program at the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College. In addition to this professional work, she is a volunteer for Community Hospice in Schenectady.

The Revolution in Gene Therapy

Allen began the talk show interview by asking Ricki to share with the listening audience the remarkable story of Corey Haas. Ricki talked about the details of this medical breakthrough. In 2008, Corey Haas, then 8-years-old, had undergone gene therapy to heal congenital blindness. The success of this operation marked a major milestone in the medical acceptance of gene treatments. 9 years earlier, the biotechnology had been set aside when an 18-year-old passed away in a similar experiment in the very same Philadelphia hospital.

In the course of the interview, Ricki discussed genetic disease, genetic testing, and genetic counseling, in addition to gene therapy, unusual diseases, and new discoveries in stem cell research. She also talked about how medical researchers learned from each trial to get one step closer to figuring out what worked in gene therapy. She decided to call her book the "Forever Fix," since gene therapy repairs all medical issues at their genetic origin. After a single treatment, patients, mainly youngsters with unusual genetic diseases, do not need further surgical procedures or treatments.

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