During the school year, I did a lot of reading for my classes, but barely any for my own enjoyment because I just didn't have the time! But now that it's summer, I've been able to go through some great books. One book in particular has stood out to me, and really influenced my love of science and desire to communicate what I lear. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot was gripping, informative, funny, and touching all at once. It also reminded me of my goal for KIDDs: To make crucial information accessible so that we can empower ourselves to support our loved ones.
Biotechnology, which is the application of technology to organisms in order to create useful products, was the most interesting unit that my biology class covered this year (in my opinion). Gene therapy is an amazing subset of biotechnology that aims to eliminate genetic disorders by altering DNA. That being said, when I came across a recent online article called "Gene Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes Aims to Eliminate Daily Insulin Injections", I was extremely interested. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin made significant advancements towards a form of gene therapy for Type 1 Diabetes when they found a short segment of DNA that coded for insulin-producing cells in rats. If this sequence of DNA worked in humans, and scientists found methods of inserting it into patients, people with Type 1 Diabetes would be able to make insulin themselves, rather than having to inject it. Personally, I still have a lot of questions about this potential treatment. Are there any long term effects that could come about from inserting new DNA? Would the insulin-producing cells last in constant supply?
Check out the article here, and let me know what you think about the idea!