Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Gene Therapy Experts Seek Safer Studies


Specifically, FDA will now require researchers to submit their safety plans routinely to the agency, including information about who is actually monitoring the experiments. Anderson estimates that might add $80,000 to the cost of a single safety trial. In addition, the NIH and FDA are initiating a series of public symposia on critical patient safety issues in gene research. The first such discussion involving safer methods of replacing genes in the body is underway at this RAC meeting.

Typically, a virus, often an adenovirus similar to one that might cause a cold, is used to transport the gene treatment to an exact location in the body where it will hopefully crank out a normal protein. However, in Gelsinger's case, the virus itself may have triggered the reaction that led to his death.

One alternative now being considered by researchers is a "gutless" adenovirus from which most of the potentially toxic portions have been removed. The approach has been tested successfully in animals and may be first used in humans to replace a gene that prevents bleeding in hemophiliacs. If the gutless virus succeeds, it may eventually replace the earlier, more dangerous methods of delivering genes.

However, long-time critic of gene therapy Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, isn't impressed by attempts to make the treatment safer. On Friday, he plans to ask the RAC for an "immediate moratorium" on gene experiments "except where the protocol can legitimately be considered a treatment of last resort for a life threatening illness."

"I don't think there's any serious concern on anybody's part that a moratorium is necessary or useful, but I think it's important that the issue be discussed," says Anderson.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

man holding his stomach
Get the facts on common problems.
blueberries in a palm
Best and worst foods.
woman shopping
Learn what foods to avoid.
fresh and dried plums
Will it help constipation?
diverticuliltis illustration
couple eating at cafe
sick child
Woman blowing bubble gum

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with crohns in pain
Woman with stomach pain
diet for diverticulitis
what causes diarrhea