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Year 13 Biology Stem cell and gene therapy conference, Oxford University

This interactive event provided an opportunity to discuss and debate new developments in stem cell therapies and gene editing as well as the ethical implications of these novel discoveries.

The speakers were all leading scientists in their field and the talks included research into: developing new drugs in the fight against cancer, autoimmune conditions such as Diabetes type 1 and infectious diseases; gene editing for Cystic Fibrosis; gene therapy for Haemophilia and severe genetic diseases of childhood such as Duchene Muscular Dystrophy.

The most inspirational talk was from a man with severe haemophilia B who has lived through disasters and developments in the treatment and care of people living with this life-long genetic illness. The current treatment is called prophylaxis; this requires sufferers to inject themselves every other day. The aim of which is to maintain enough clotting factor in the bloodstream to prevent bleeds and to avoid life-threatening complications. There was a real hope that gene therapy can actually cure this condition in the near future.