BY MURRAY WHITE
pRO-LIFE GROUPS in Britain this week extended a "cautious welcome" to a breakthrough in the treatment of the illness cystic fibrosis involving revolutionary gene therapy.
The technique, which involves using a genetically engineered virus to carry healthy genes into the body, has allowed the correction of the genetic fault in the noses of three people with the illness, doctors at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference announced last week.
Now they are looking at ways of adapting the approach to restore the genetic defect which causes the fatal effects of the hereditary disease in the lung.
Alison Davis, Co-ordinator of SPUC's Handicapped Division, said: "We are obviously very pleased at the breakthough and would welcome it as a viable form of treatment." She added a word of caution that a complete cure would "not be in widespread use for a while" and groups like SPUC would continue campaigning against the abortion of those diagnosed as having cystic fibrosis.
Ms Davis said: "Having cystic fibrosis will not mean a death sentence. But the important point is that the life of children is no less precious, whether or not they have cystic fibrosis."
Catholic leaders and prolife groups have long welcomed the advancement of similar forms of treatment.