Gene Therapy


Dec 11, 2012 (4 years and 8 months ago)


Gene Therapy

Is gene therapy the next wave in medicine? As the age of chemical
based medicine is now thoroughly
discredited (prescription drugs are toxic, haven't you heard?), and drug companies are losing both profits
and credibility, there's a mad dash t
o find something to replace the current drug racket. Could gene therapy
be the next "big thing" for Big Pharma?

Interestingly, gene therapy has very real potential for enhancing human health, but not in the way the drug
companies think. Unfortunately,
gene therapy

will very likely be marketed and promoted in much the same
way chemical medicine was: patients don't necessarily have to change their lifestyles or make proper food
choice or engage in
physical exercise, we'll be told. All they need to do is undergo these gene therapy
procedures. So, even while gene therapy may sound exciting at first, it has many of the same pitfalls of
conventional chemical
based medicine. That is,
it takes away the re
sponsibility from the patient
. In fact,
the more we talk about the genetic basis of disease, the more power we strip away from individuals. Go see
the movie "GATTACA" for an interesting science fiction look at what a society might be like if everyone
judged on their genetic code, and not their behavioral choices or free will.

The fact is even though there are genetic influences on the way our bodies process foods, deal with stress or
build bone mass, those influences only account for a tiny percentage

of our overall
health outcome
. After
all, people living today span the range of health from the utterly diseased to the super
healthy, and yet
every human being shares at least 99.5 percent of

the exact same
. So
we are nearly identical from a
genetic standpoint, and yet we express a wide variety of health outcomes

So, even as gene therapy technologies are made available, and even as
they sound like miracle cures for
disease, the ultimate expression of health can only come from within each patient. This is where, long term,
the true revolution in medicine may take place, because, whether we're talking about chemical medicine, or

through gene therapy or vibrational medicine, or even natural healing therapies, it's still all about
healing the patient with an external therapy. That, in my view, is an improper view of health and medical
True healing only happens from wi
. True healing only takes place when the patient is
involved in that healing, when the patient's own immune system is supported, when their belief systems are
improved to eliminate distortions, when they begin to take responsibility for their actions,
when they begin
to actually appreciate and love themselves and so on. This is where healing actually takes place, and no
amount of technology, even 500 years of technological advances, can replace that personal role in healing.

Genetic engineering

ogramming the DNA of our species

There are some interesting technologies, though, that can help make the prevention of chronic disease
easier for people. I have discussed some of these in my book "The Top 10 Most Important Emerging
Technologies for Humanit
y," which is available for downloading free of charge at
. In the book, I argue that
genetic engineering

is indeed an
technological advance for not only the success of our species, but also for enhancing the health of our

I'd like to talk about genetic engineering for a moment, but to preface it with the recognition that we, as a
society, are nowher
e near the level of maturity and

required for manipulating the genetic code. I don't
believe we are ready for genetic engineering, but at some point we may evolve ethically and spiritually to
e point where we can more responsibly grasp this potential technology. So even though I'm in favor of
exploring genetic engineering in the long run, I am solidly against it today.

Down the road, here's how genetic engineering might be put into use to enha
nce human health: If you look
at a lot of the health problems afflicting us today, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity or even
, they are the result of a mismatch between

the hardware we developed as a species and the
present environment. For example, our ancestors lived in an environment where food and calories were
scarce. Thus they developed the hardware, software and firmware that would motivate them to seek out
es and, any time they were in the presence of excess calories, to store those calories on their bodies as
fuel to be used at a future time and date. This was a survival mechanism, and it served humanity quite well.
After all, we survived long enough to be
alive today, reading this.

This same hardware and software can be a disservice to humans living in the modern environment, because
now we have, at least in developed countries, an excess of calories. We have more food than we know what
to do with, but our

hardware and software keeps telling us to keep eating all of this food, that we never
have enough and we don't feel comfortable unless we have our bellies full.

This is something that could be completely eliminated through genetic engineering. With engin
eering, the
biochemistry responsible for this quest for calories could be altered, creating a person who isn't hungry all
the time and who doesn't seek out
refined carbohydrates

or overe
at even when there's plenty of food

Interestingly, our hardware and software has also developed to reward us through brain chemistry when we
consume refined

and fat. Wh
y are these rewarded? They are rewarded because carbohydrates
and fat represent the taste of energy. Fat is a high
density source of energy, and carbohydrates are a fast
acting, rapid energy source. Both of these are desired by your body for survival. So y
ou have been
programmed with hardware and software that rewards you for consuming these items. This is why

tastes so delicious. It's not that it "IS" delicious; it's that you've been progr
ammed to be rewarded for
eating ice cream. In a sense, we are all slaves of our ancestors. We're slaves of the genetic process that got
us here through arduous survival, and
in many ways, this genetic code no longer serves us in modern

So imagine

if you had a population with no desire to eat whatsoever; all taste sensors were eliminated and
there was absolutely no reward for consuming a carbohydrate. What would that population look like?
Chances are, that population wouldn't live very long, becaus
e no one would bother to eat. If people were
required to eat only due to a realization that they need food to survive, they're not likely to pick up much
food. So that population wouldn't do very well, and we would be ill
served to manipulate our genes to
desire no food whatsoever. However, suppose we manipulated our genetic code to desire some food, but
not very much. Or suppose we altered our taste sensors to really enjoy the taste of bitters like dark, green
, or to dislike the taste of
. What would that population look like?

Very likely, it would find itself in an outstanding state of health. Since it disliked refined sug
ars and refined
carbohydrates, it would not suffer from diabetes,

and many other disorders related to the
consumption of those items. Since the population would enjoy the taste of green leafy
vegetables and bitter
foods, it would consume more of those. Thus,
the taste sensors engineered into our bodies determine
the level of health we tend to achieve, because they determine the diet we pursue naturally without
any intervention or effort.

In oth
er words: Today it doesn't take any effort to pig out on ice cream, donuts,
candy bars and soft drinks. That's easy, because that's what we're wired for. However, through genetic
engineering, we could alter that wiring and create a happy, healthy individua
l that craved health

We could also do the same thing with sunlight and vitamin D. Today, we have people who are suffering
from chronic vitamin D deficiency because they live on the wrong part of the planet based on their skin
. If you have darker skin, you are supposed to be living closer to the equator, as your skin is
designed to block the excessive radiation that comes from living there. If you have fair skin, you have a
body designed to live further away from the equator in

a place where you're not getting much sunlight,
because fair skin doesn't block the sun and allows more radiation to penetrate your skin, which results in
the production of vitamin D.
Vitamin D
, of

course, is an essential nutrient for preventing prostate
breast cancer, osteoporosis and many other disorders.

Through genetic engineering, we can alter our bodies to fit our environments and

fit our modern societies.
Today, very few people get adequate sunlight, so we could create mechanisms by which our skin produces
more vitamin D with less exposure to natural sunlight. We could also engineer the body to produce vitamin
C, which is produced

by other animals like dogs and cats, but is not produced in the
human body

These are just a few small examples of the many ways in which genetic engineering can help alter our
health outcome by
changing our hardware and software. Yet, I think there are many other important
applications of genetic engineering. One of the most notable today would be
altering the behavioral
characteristics of our species

We have a genetic code that programs us wit
h certain behaviors. If you are a male of the species, you're
programmed with behaviors of conquering resources, owning land, declaring war on your neighbors,
controlling access to reproductive resources, and you tend to have a more aggressive, confrontati
behavior than females of the species. This is all built right into the human genome, which is one reason
why we always see males declaring war on each other. You don't see many wars in the history of
civilization actually started or pursued by women.
That's because women have a more nurturing quality.
Their survival depended on their behavior being more maternalistic and community
oriented, whereas the
survival of males depended on their behavior being dominating, threatening, confrontational and
ssive. So if you want to end war and create peace in the world, you have to engineer the propensity
for war out of the gene pool, and you do that by altering the genetics and altering the way males operate.

I can just hear all the men out there screaming
something like, "Oh, you want to turn us all into women."
Well, not exactly, but let's face it: The idea of protecting your acre of savannah, scaring off rival tribes and
fighting over reproductive access to women doesn't exactly translate well into modern

times. What we get
is, in fact, the kind of thing we're seeing right now in terms of the war on Iraq, the confrontational

international diplomacy and national leaders who essentially act out

the hardwired aggression traits of our
ancestors. With the right genetic engineering, those behaviors could be history. We could create a
population hardwired for peace and cooperation. (In fact, I don't think we'll ever see peace on this planet
until we
find a way to take the WAR out of men. Because men will always find new justifications for
fighting each other. It's in our nature.)