By Jonathan Weiner
From Jonathan Weiner, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of The Beak of the Finch, comes His Brother's Keeper -- the tale of a tender entrepreneur who gambles at the dicy technological know-how of gene remedy to attempt to save lots of his brother's life.
Stephen Heywood was once twenty-nine years previous while he discovered that he was once loss of life of ALS -- Lou Gehrig's sickness. virtually in a single day his older brother, Jamie, became himself right into a genetic engineer in a quixotic race to treatment the incurable. His Brother's Keeper is a strong account in their tale, as they trip jointly to the sting of medicine.
The booklet brings domestic for we all the hopes and fears of the hot biology. during this dramatic and suspenseful narrative, Jonathan Weiner provides us a striking portrait of technological know-how and drugs this day. We find out about gene treatment, stem cells, mind vaccines, and different novel remedies for such nerve-death ailments as ALS, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's -- illnesses that afflict thousands, and contact the lives of many more.
It seems that the writer has a private stake within the tale besides. whilst he met the Heywood brothers, his personal mom was once demise of an extraordinary nerve-death illness. The Heywoods' gene therapist provided to attempt to avoid wasting her, too.
"The Heywoods' tale taught me many stuff concerning the nature of therapeutic within the new millennium," Weiner writes. "They additionally taught me approximately what has no longer replaced because the time of the ancients and will by no means swap so long as there are people -- approximately what Lucretius calls ‘the ever-living wound of love.'
"The Heywoods suggest the full tale to me now: an allegory from the sting of drugs. a narrative to make us ask ourselves questions that we've got to invite yet don't want to invite. How a lot of lifestyles will we engineer? How a lot is authorized us?
"What might you do to save lots of your brother's life?"
Read or Download His Brother's Keeper: A Story from the Edge of Medicine PDF
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Extra resources for His Brother's Keeper: A Story from the Edge of Medicine
Lots of the DNA in a cellphone is packed contained in the nucleus. yet there's a few DNA within the cytoplasm, too. The mitochondria, the strength packs that go with the flow within the cytoplasm, hold their very own DNA. So the infants that Cohen’s workforce made via cytoplasmic move had inherited DNA from eggs and one sperm. that's, they carried genes from 3 mom and dad. So this used to be yet one more type of genetic engineering, as Silver stated. you may argue that those infants represented no longer one yet firsts: the 1st successes of gene treatment, and the 1st germ-line gene treatment ever performed on people. After Cohen, the subsequent speaker used to be Rick Adler, the team’s microscopist. He defined that he were interpreting the eggs of their cytoplasmic move venture with the hot ask yourself device within the lab, the confocal microscope. Twenty-five years sooner than, the beauty device have been the electron microscope. yet with that, you may in basic terms examine a useless, stained cellphone. With the confocal microscope, you may examine a dwell mobilephone, and as the imaging is completed through a working laptop or computer, you may see issues right now. As Rick defined all this, there has been a bit hmmm of approval. “Turn the lighting down a bit of extra. ” whilst Rick checked out the embryos of their cytoplasmic move undertaking, he stated, he spotted that the blebs, the fragments round every one embryo, have been super “hot. ” “Lit in purple, during this photo. plenty of mitochondria there. this can be the embryo I occurred to be whilst Cohen walked through the room,” Rick acknowledged. “And he went bananas. ” in the course of a holiday, I went out with Silver to an higher deck of the Galaxy, aft, and within the Orion living room, Silver informed me why Jacques Cohen had long past wild. “The query is, what allowed those ladies to get pregnant,” Silver defined. during the injection of cytoplasm, just a small percent of the mitochondria coming into the fertilized egg got here from a 3rd get together. yet within the embryo that Rick had tested, approximately fifty percentage of the mitochondria had come from a 3rd celebration. That used to be why the confocal microscope photo had stunned Cohen. “The merely means that can ensue is they’re being selected,” Silver acknowledged. The mitochondria from the donor mom were chosen within the egg because the embryo grew, whereas the mitochondria from the start mom were rejected. In different phrases, it was once the mitochondrial genes of the 3rd get together that allowed that child to be born. “So it appears like gene remedy! ” Silver cried. “They’re scared to demise, simply because it’s genetic engineering and Jacques is familiar with it. And the full international thinks that’s terrible, terrible, terrible. and perhaps it’s now not so terrible, terrible, terrible. And that’s possibly one cause Jacques sought after you here—to say that perhaps it’s no longer terrible. ” throughout the subsequent holiday, i discovered Cohen and Silver and some others status by way of the door to the auditorium. “This is genetic engineering! ” Silver used to be asserting, in a voice like a headline. “We continue attempting to keep away from the term,” acknowledged one of many younger scientists in Cohen’s crew, Jason Barritt. “Oh, it’s genetic engineering.