5.0 out of 5 starsIs gene therapy a blessing or a curse?
By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 21, 2016
It is so fine to see the Brier Hospital Series is resurrected! This is the 12th book in Dr. Lawrence Gold’s series that many of us have been following since its inception in 2011. Lawrence W. Gold, MD is a physician/author who takes risks with his books: ‘BRIER HOSPITAL’ books are stories that reveal some rather grim aspects of the medical profession. (For those who follow Dr. Gold's literary output then the mention of his warmly humorous book I LOVE MY DOCTOR, BUT...must be included as a sidebar). Gold has retired from medicine (he was a Nephrologist, having served as a Battalion Surgeon in Vietnam at the same time as this reviewer) and it is understandable that he wishes to uses his patently obvious skills as a writer as his post-medical career. One wonders why he continues to use the MD after his name in this successful second career, but perhaps the intent is to add validity to his writing.

As with all of his books this installment in the series deals with contemporary issues that may shock some and vitalize to action others. The story is well summarized here – ‘The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention ended research on the offensive use of biological weapons, or has it? Features of the Patriot Act giving the US immunity from violating its own bioweapons laws has increased suspicion of US bioweapons activities. While the world has a high degree of certainty that countries like Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, and Syria have continue offensive bioweapons research, the United States has limited itself to such research of a “defensive” nature only. Teens and young adults returning from missionary work in Arizona come home with severe, and sometimes fatal bacterial infections. Is this an epidemic? Are these individuals contagious? The infections are unusual as common environmental bacteria, usually benign, have suddenly become aggressive and life-threatening. Is this government policy gone awry, or is there a more nefarious explanation?’

Adding his research skills to the book Lawrence writes in his Author’s Note – ‘Science gives us the opportunity to remake the natural world, but does mankind have the ability to decide how best to do it? Do we want to do good, or do we choose to do what can be done? The evolution of CRISPR/ Cas9 technology (shortened to CRISPR) with its vast potential to do good or evil, will come with a price. We will need the wisdom to define its use in all biological systems, but particularly in humans. Altering a person’s cells can change today, altering germ cells will change the future of mankind.’

Important facts to discuss but even more impressive is the manner in which Lawrence molds these issues into a terrifying thriller. Be ready to think, ponder, and also be entertained by this excellent current volume of the Brier Hospital Series. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, December 16

The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention ended research on the offensive use of biological weapons, or has it? Features of the Patriot Act giving the US immunity from violating its own bioweapons laws has increased suspicion of US bioweapons activities.
While the world has a high degree of certainty that countries like Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, and Syria have continue offensive bioweapons research, the United States has limited itself to such research of a “defensive” nature only.
Teens and young adults returning from missionary work in Arizona come home with severe, and sometimes fatal bacterial infections. Is this an epidemic? Are these individuals contagious? The infections are unusual as common environmental bacteria, usually benign, have suddenly become aggressive and life-threatening.
Is this government policy gone awry, or is there a more nefarious explanation?
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