Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Technology's Promise

Medical Breakthrough Prediction
In reading Technology’s Promise, by William E. Halal, I found the most interesting technological predictions to be centered on medical advances. This is because this industry is one of the most important topics to all of humans around the global. Without accurate healthcare, our live expectancy is endangered. One of the predictions identified in the book centered on genetic therapy.

As stated by Halal, “One of the greatest lures of biotech is eliminating the 5,000 genetic diseases that plague humankind. Progress is slow, but results are likely about 2024 (2008).”

 Coming for the origin of gene therapy, this process use DNA as a pharmaceutical agent to treat various disease forms. Thus far, this is an experimental technique that is still under study and has yet to be proven for mass consumption as this is a risky alternative. This technique is expected to allow treatment by inserting genes into patients instead of using drugs or surgery (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012).


Forces that could affect effectiveness:

1. Legal (Global) -This alternative is still deemed a “risky” procedure and must obtain special U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) privileges in order for research to be conducted. At any given time, the FDA may reject or suspend the clinical trials if the safety of the participants is suspected. These types of laws vary from country and may yield some unforeseen hurdles for global treatment adoptions. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has an important role in ensuring the safety of gene therapy research (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012).  An Institutional Review Board (IRB) and an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) must approve each gene therapy clinical trial before it can be carried out (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012).

2. Financial – This treatment is still in the early stages of its development there for the technology that is needed may be somewhat of a costly challenge for families which may be on the poverty borderline. Often these are the high population of patients in which contract incurable disease most useful for the gene therapy procedures.

3. Ethical – This procedure affects the body’s genetic makeup and may people have concerns and questions regarding the use of gene therapy in the development of a fetus that may have long-term side effects. Also if the parent chooses to undergo the treatment it is given to the child as well due to the transference of gene makeup not allowing the child once it is older to be given a choice as to whether or not he would have chosen to undergo the treatment (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012).

4. Technical – This is a factor because the treatment must be applied to specific genes and thru the current injection procedure this has been proven to be somewhat a challenge (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012).


Halal, W. (2008). Technology's promise: Expert knowledge on the transformation of business and society. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire England New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2012 Sept 03).  Gene therapy. Retrieved from:


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