In recent news, a 44 year old man, Brian Madeux was given a radical new type of gene therapy that literally rewrites his genetic code. Madeux suffers from Hunter syndrome, which is a genetic condition previously held to be incurable. Physicians normally work towards managing symptoms where possible, but to date there has been no cure. It is the hope of researchers with a master of engineering in biomedical engineering degree that genetic manipulation may finally hold the answers medical science has been seeking. Bioengineering genes may offer a cure where technology and health converge.
Definitive Diagnosis Hard to Achieve
Many of the symptoms of Hunter syndrome are the same as those which occur as the result of other diseases and illnesses. These symptoms include:
- Respiratory problems.
- Problems in joints often mimicking arthritis.
- Inordinate number of coughs, colds and sinus or throat infections.
- Loss of hearing and inordinate number of ear infections.
- Weakness in muscles.
As you can see by this brief list of common symptoms, each can be attributed to Hunter syndrome or some other disease such as arthritis, or even gout. It is only through tissue, urine or blood samples that a definitive diagnosis can be made. There is prenatal testing for the defective gene, but few women actually have the foresight to ask for this test, although it is hereditary because much of the time it has gone undiagnosed or misdiagnosed until recent years.
Hunter Syndrome Usually Manifests in Childhood
Usually, Hunter syndrome appears during the first ten to twenty years of a child’s life and it absolutely is hereditary linked to a recessive X gene. The new therapy just now in the human trial stage is designed to literally rewrite the code on the gene which causes the disease. This gene is found in the liver of Madeux and as the days and weeks go by, science will be watching the results carefully. If successful, this would be an amazing accomplishment for the bioengineering field. Students with an undergrad degree in biomedical engineering may wish to gain entry level positions in labs while continuing their education in an online MEBME program. As technology advances, bioengineering is becoming more and more sophisticated.
Bioengineering for the Cure Has Endless Possibilities
It has only been in recent years that science has learned to identify the specific genes associated with diseases. Cancer is one family of diseases that has previously been difficult to cure. In fact, some forms of cancer cannot be cured and the only hope is to help patients live a better quality of life in the time they have left. The same holds true for Hunter syndrome. By re-engineering a person’s genetic code, it just might be possible to cure literally every disease known to man while extending his or her life by many, many years. We are at the threshold of amazing breakthroughs and bioengineering is the key will hopefully someday unlock the door. Are you ready for a career with a bright future? Consider a bioengineering degree – the perfect juxtaposition of health and technology.