The FDA recently approved two gene therapies with hefty price tags, the first for an inherited anemia and the second for a degenerative brain condition. The two new treatments, from bluebirdbio, double the number of gene therapies on the market.
Most biotechnologies evolve over three decades or so, but the idea of gene therapy has been around since the late 1950s, blooming soon after Watson and Crick solved the structure of DNA. When my book The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It was published a decade ago, it would still be 5 years before the first approval. That treatment, the subject of my book, enabled the blind to see, sometimes in just days.
Why has the pace of gene therapy been so slow? Cost is one barrier. Other concerns are the degree to which a gene therapy actually helps, how long the effect lasts, and what proportion of patients respond.
A Short List
FDA's gene therapy roster is here, but a caveat is necessary.
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