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Gene therapy and sickle cell disease: Religious perspectives

Religious leaders, including prominent African American church leaders, comment on progress toward gene therapy for sickle cell disease, to be reported in "Correction of Sickle Cell Disease in Transgenic Mouse Models by Gene Therapy," by R. Pawliuk et al., in the 14 Decemeber 2001 issue of Science, which is EMBARGOED UNTIL 13-DECEMBER-2001 AT 14:00 ET US.

This release contains quotes from carefully selected, well-informed religious leaders. All quotes are free to use by journalists in any news medium. Contact information is provided and follow-up interviews are encouraged.

1. Rev. Dr. Peter J. Paris is the Elmer G. Homrighausen Professor of Christian Social Ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary, and Princeton University African American Studies Program (liaison) He is a past president of the American Academy of Religion and of the Society of Christian Ethics. 609-497-3796 or 609-497-4718.

The millions of people who suffer from sickle cell disease are always happy to learn about research endeavors aimed at treating this genetic disorder. Thanks to the findings of genetic research on mice it is now conceivable that a possible therapy for this dreadful disease is on the horizon. Both sufferers and carriers delight in that prospect. I vividly remember a young couple who discovered late in their courtship that they were both carriers of the sickle cell trait. They were forced to deal with the choice between not marrying or not having children. Both were tragic decisions for them to make. Similarly, and even more sadly, I recall a brilliant young teacher in Ghana who, at 23 years old, was taken to the hospital one night by his parents to be treated for what everyone assumed was malaria, the symptoms of which are similar to the traumas associated with sickle cell disease. Much to the shock of his family and friends, he died that night. In short, people with sickle cell disease in their families live lives that are constantly
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Contact: Brent Waters
srns@science-spirit.org
412-585-0842
Science and Religion Information Service
13-Dec-2001


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