Breast cancer gene-free baby due

By | December 20, 2008

A woman from London will give birth next week to the first British baby screened to be free of an altered gene which causes breast cancer.

Women in three generations of her husband’s family have been diagnosed with the disease in their 20s.

Without the embryo screening, any daughter born would have a 50-80% chance of experiencing breast cancer.

But one expert warned the technique would not be suitable for all couples with this disease in their family. …
Mr Serhal said: “The whole objective of this exercise is not just to make sure the child doesn’t have the gene, but to stop the transmission from generation to generation.”

He said it was “an exciting new era,” adding that it would be possible to screen for any mutated gene which had been linked to a specific cancer.

But he said that, in this case, not carrying an altered BRCA1 gene would not guarantee any daughter born to the couple would be unaffected by breast cancer because there are other genetic and environmental causes. …

Josephine Quintavalle, of the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics said: “The most important thing is that people realise this is not a cure for breast cancer.

“In addition, we must not forget the embryos which were discarded because they did carry the gene.

“Moving to screening embryos for susceptibility genes, rather than inherited conditions, has broken through a barrier.

“What next? It is going further along the line which ultimately ends in designer babies.” – bbc

Yes, like it or not, we will get better and better at hacking our biology. Designer babies are inevitable. We are on the threshold; we are about to set a new course, to take control of our own evolution.

Leave a Reply