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Debate over ethics of using gene therapy for treating human beings started since the discovery of recombinant DNA technology. The mere fact that it involves the alteration of DNA was a matter of concern for a large number of people who were against playing with nature (Sade and Khushf, 1998). This therapy comes with certain high end promises along with a few risk factors. However media had a strong role in exaggerating the negatives of gene therapy. Reports demonstrating that use of genetic vectors are associated with unwanted inflammatory responses and rejection of corrected cells by immune system has raised an alarm within the scientific community. This created a misconception that gene therapy is dangerous (Mavilio, 2010).
Slowly somatic gene therapy was accepted and considered to be an extension of normal medical treatment as a result of new research and clinical efficiency. Large numbers of inherited diseases, like retinal degeneration, SCID and adrenoleukodystrophy have been cured in the recent past using this therapy (Mavilio, 2010). In some cases this therapy made it possible to procure the normal treatment at affordable price. For example a patient suffering from SCID due to insufficient synthesis of ADA within body can be treated by drugs containing ADA. But this enzyme is costly and the addition of gene for ADA through gene therapy techniques is cost effective and provides a long term solution (Sade and Khushf, 1998).
However the ethical issues related to germ line theory are being debated to date. People who stand against gene therapy put forth the following arguments:
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