Inder Verma has won the Vilcek Foundation annual award for, among other things, his work in gene transfer (for those of you who, like me, enjoy contemporary music, this year's other recipient was Oswaldo Golijov– an eclectic Argentine-born composer).
As a former editor of Molecular Therapy and in other writings, Verma has often offered thoughtful and circumspect commentary on gene transfer. I leave you with a few quotes. From a 2005 interview in the journal Gene Therapy: "the big problem in gene therapy will be immunology. We don't know whether the vector is immunogenic, or more importantly, whether the transgene is immunogenic...." Same interview: "there has to be more... back and forth [between clinicians and basic science researchers]. That hasn't happened as much as I would have liked to have seen." From an editorial in Molecular Therapy, 2001: "new and highly experimental technologies have inherent risks and uncertainties. Scientists must find a balance between excitement and eagerness, problem and promises, and hopes and hypes. The reality is that the timeline of promises kept is unpredictable, but the reaction to unfulfilled expectations is predictable." (photo credit: Salk Institute, Aaronbflickr 2007)