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A career in gene therapy


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I've been trying to find information on the education required to become a genetic therapist, but since genetics is somewhat of a new frontier in medicine (I think), it's very hard to find direction.



Basically what I'm asking is, what education is required to become elegible for this field of work?

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Not familiar with the field but my guess is: "a lot".


If you want to do science research, you'll usually need a Ph.D. If you are happy with being a technician, a bachelor's will do.


Again, I'm not sure what types of "clinical gene therapy are available, but clinical medicine will usually require an MD, unless this type of therapy is being performed on a nursing/physician's assistant level.

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Ok, I think you may be confused about gene therapy and a genetic councelor.


Gene therapy is based on technology(s) that allows for delivery of exogenous genes to correct a genetic-based pathology. Although there a few clinical examples of this, it is not a mainstay clinical technique as of yet.

To study gene therapy as of today, one can either obtain a career that would allow for participation in the research and development stages of gene therapy (i.e. retroviral construction, pluripotent cell based systems, DNA delivery systems such as liposome packaging) OR pursue translational research that utilizes an already developed gene delivery system, which may eventually yield clinically relevant outcomes. The prior path (R&D) would require indepth biomedical research studies, perhaps leading to an advanced degree whereas the latter, a degree that is clinically applicable may faciliate such career goals, such as medicine, pharmacy, or clinically relevant research doctorate.


Genetic counciling on, the other hand, does not require intense study as above, but does require a strong working knowledge of genetics at the human level. A master's degree is often sufficient for this career and there are universities that tailor their master degree programs for this field.

This field, you would advise couples on the potential genetic defects and assess propability of genetic pathology in their offspring. This is often more applicable for people (couples) who have had strong familial history of disease.


Hope this helps.

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  • 7 months later...

If you want to use the gene therapy technique to cure a patient,

you must be a medical doctor, though currently the gene therapy is

in an experimental level. Some of patients died during the gene therapy

trial... but the technique has a great promise in the near future.

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