With all the corruption and failures in climate science, sometimes it’s nice to read about how some areas of science are still working, and developing something that matters.
There are thousands of people working on a frontier of science that promises to revolutionize medicine. We are living in the last days of what we’ll come to know as the “old medicine” where surgeons do the unthinkable — cutting out healthy blood vessels to get spare parts for more important sites, or treating people with drugs that affect cells all over the body (with many unwanted side-effects) when what we need is a way to get the right molecules into a tiny percentage of cells. Then there is the devastating cost of using transplants from other people (deceased or not), and then having to use immune-suppressant drugs for life. Growing your own spare parts — customized and make to order — is the brilliant alternative.
Our lives would be so much better if the money used to install vast inefficient solar arrays, or bird-breaking windfarms was used instead on gene therapy. That doesn’t mean everything about this is unquestionably good, like any powerful tool, gene therapy can kill as well as save. That’s why we need to do the research, and the sooner the better.
Virtually all our cells contain all the genes that make us. So if we learn how to switch the right genes on and with the right timing, in theory, with the right scaffolding, we can build any body part. Growing a full liver is a long way off, but it’s coming. We are at the stage of building simple parts like bladders and blood vessels.
To give you some idea of how huge this field is, here are just a few stories released in the last week: Making new blood vessels from fat cells, turning skin cells into the neurons that are affected by Parkinsons, and figuring out which genes are involved in growing new teeth.