NAC from A to Z

Gene Therapy

In the first instance, methods of gene therapy serve to cure diseases and are therefore a matter of special responsibility for the physicians who are equally committed to providing the best possible treatment for their patients and ensuring compliance with ethical standards.

On the other hand, these methods also permit genetic manipulation and even the "optimization" of humans who will be "produced" by genetic manipulation at the embryonic stage in the not too distant future (designer babies). This violates the protection due to all unborn life, as required by Christian ethics and guaranteed by law.

In the field of gene therapy, three methods are to be distinguished:

–        Somatic gene therapy (use of physical carriers and viruses as vectors) is viewed, in terms of moral and ethical considerations, as unobjectionable. However, due to the associated hopes, fears and potential abuses, it always raises the question of the general admissibility of gene therapy.

–        Germline manipulation is rejected at the present stage in the debate, on account of the unforeseeable social and biological consequences for future generations. Germline manipulation also gives rise to the ethically dubious possibility of producing so-called designer babies (positive eugenics).

–        Nuclear transfer is closely related to cloning (optimization of genes) and must therefore be rejected, in terms of moral and ethical considerations, as an intervention in the physical intactness of a human embryo for reproduction purposes.

From the perspective of the New Apostolic Church there are no principal ethical objections to a medically justified somatic gene therapy. Germline manipulation, however, has to be rejected for ethical reasons in agreement with other churches.

Zurich, March 23, 2007