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Gene therapy at CHOP

Kristin's picture

Gene Therapy at CHOP allowed a deaf boy to hear. But some deaf people object to the treatment.

Among the deaf people with concerns about the gene therapy is one who also happens to be a scientist.

Sara Blick-Nitko, a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, said gene therapy makes sense if it could help an older person who lost hearing as an adult. But for someone who is born deaf, the treatment smacks of eugenics, erasing a genetic trait without regard for its associated rich culture and language.

“Being deaf is not a disease,” she said. “It truly enriches your life, when you have access to your native language and the resources to be successful.”