December 20, 2006

Art Caplan Stands Tall for the Man

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Back in the early '90s, Arnold Melman and George Christ were mocked when they suggested using gene therapy to cure impotence. After all, the futuristic form of medicine requires an often dangerous intervention into the genetic code. At the time, gene therapy was inspiring dreams of curing cancer, AIDS, and debilitating childhood diseases - not something as "frivolous" as erectile dysfunction.

Melman and Christ saw some vindication last week when the results of their first human study ran in the December issue of the journal Human Gene Therapy, along with a glowing editorial by University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Arthur Caplan. And so, the dream of gene therapy might find its first widespread application in helping people have sex - a twist of events that opens new questions about medicine's role in enhancing the quality of life and our society's willingness to accept risks for the advancement of technology.

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