The Bad and the Good

Fresh doubts are cast on a troubled gene-therapy treatment even as the French hint at new advances

It looked safe. It was presented as safe. And it was going to the benefit of everyone." That's how Paul Gelsinger, a father of four from Tucson, Ariz., explained in an emotional appearance before a Senate subcommittee last week why he supported the decision made by his 18-year-old son Jesse to undergo gene therapy for a rare metabolic disorder Jesse had suffered from since birth.

Now, four months after Jesse's untimely death, Gelsinger and much of the scientific community are struggling to understand what went wrong. For while Jesse didn't count on personally benefiting from the treatment he underwent at...

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