Gene Therapy: Hacking Our Genetic Code by Dr Simon Waddington University College London (Reader in Gene Transfer Technology) Gene therapy is a medical revolution. It defines the tools we can use to “hack” our own genetic code to fight diseases. Dr Waddington’s team is particularly interested in inherited genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anaemia. This list is long, and many inherited diseases are very rare, because they are so deadly. People suffering from inherited genetic diseases carry a mutation that stops them from making an important protein. Re-engineered viruses are used to deliver replacements for the mutant gene. This gives sufferers the capability to make the protein, a capability, that unlike most of us, they were never born with. At UCL they specialise in treating genetic diseases which affect, and are often fatal in children.