After a hiatus associated with a checkered past, gene therapy is again showing promise in several fields of medicine, and otolaryngology is no exception. In separate phone interviews, two experts in gene therapy discussed the applications that otolaryngologists may be seeing in the near future.
Explore this issue:September 2006
Gene therapy is an embryonic field with enormous potential, said Bert W. O’Malley, Jr., MD. He noted that much progress is being made in the field in a quiet way, without the drum roll and spotlight that accompanied the field in the 1980s and 1990s. Dr. O’Malley is the Gabriel Tucker Professor and Chair of the department of otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery and co-director of both the Center for Head and Neck Cancer and the Center for Cranial Based Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems in Philadelphia.
In theory, it would be easier to paste a little gene therapy on a precancerous lesion and prevent cancer progression rather than treat a large malignant lesion with more radical surgery once it has developed. – – Bert W. O’Malley Jr., MD