In 1982, a meeting of unusual influence was held at the Banbury Conference Center of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. After an early attempt at treating clinical disease with transferred genes had ignited public attention and scientific controversy, a group of distinguished biologists and physicians came together to assess practical progress towards gene therapy and what its future might be. The geneticist Ted Friedmann wrote a narrative account of the participants' contributions to the meeting, ending with a personal discussion of ethical issues raised by genetic technologies.
His book, the first on gene therapy, was widely read but has long been unavailable. It has been reprinted with a new introduction by the author, in which he reviews the field's technical accomplishments and ethical dilemmas. Now that gene therapy has become part of the medical landscape, this volume is of interest as both a historical document and an assessment of the field's current challenges.