Journal article

Drugs, genes and screens: The ethics of preventing and treating spinal muscular atrophy

Christopher Gyngell, Zornitza Stark, Julian Savulescu

BIOETHICS | WILEY | Published : 2020


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the most common genetic disease that causes infant mortality. Its treatment and prevention represent the paradigmatic example of the ethical dilemmas of 21st-century medicine. New therapies (nusinersen and AVXS-101) hold the promise of being able to treat, but not cure, the condition. Alternatively, genomic analysis could identify carriers, and carriers could be offered in vitro fertilization and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. In the future, gene editing could prevent the condition at the embryonic stage. How should these different options be evaluated and compared within a health system? In this paper, we discuss the ethical considerations that bear on t..

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