Key Notes From a Keynote: 20+ years Living in My Genes

By Kathy Banks, BSc, MSc, continuing review coordinator, animal ethics, University of British Columbia 

PRIM&R is pleased to share a post from Kathy Banks, a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2015 Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who blog here, on Ampersand, to give our readers an inside peek of what happened at the conference in Boston, MA.

Gene therapy! We can cure ALL the diseases! More than 20 years ago, this was (and still is, honestly) a fanciful notion, but targeted therapeutics was one of the newest advances in genetics. At the time, it was a field of study that found me (instead of me finding it), and I was smitten. The first gene therapy treatment was done in 1990, and it was HUGE news. When I started graduate school in 1996 (at University of British Columbia, in the Department of Medical Genetics), I was immediately plunged into this “new field” of research. One of my graduate classes was about gene mutations that result in diseases with classic genetic inheritance patterns, including cystic fibrosis (CF) caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene.

When I read that David K. Meyerholz, DVM, PhD, was one of the keynote speakers at the 2015 IACUC Conference, I knew his talk was something I could not miss. He studies lung diseases (asthma runs in my family), including CF. CF is a disease which has become much more personal for me as the daughter of a friend has it.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.