All You Should Know About Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is a relatively new way of curing diseases. We think you might not have heard about it before now. Notwithstanding your level of knowledge about gene therapy, we want to educate you more on it.

What is gene therapy?

According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, gene therapy is a technique that makes use of genes as a therapeutic approach to diseases. The genes that cause disease in the body are restructured so as to stop diseases. Gene therapy is not a random process like bone marrow transplant which combats more than a bone cell at once. Rather, it is specific in its application.

Primary application of gene therapy

Gene therapy can be used to treat diseases in three different ways:

  • When gene therapy is done, a doctor can remove a gene that is causing a particular ailment and then put an exact copy of the gene as a replacement.
  • An individual can be made unaffected by diseases when a healthy gene is inserted into such person.
  • The growth of a certain disease can be stopped by disengaging a mutated gene through gene therapy.

Facts about gene therapy

Now that you know the definition of gene therapy and its applications, below are some facts about gene therapy that you need to understand:

  • Effective against chronic diseases: Most chronic illnesses have no cure. An example is cancer which has defied response to any form of medication. The only thing that happens is that drugs reduce its symptoms. However, gene therapy is believed to be a potent cure for cancer. Scientist discovered that they can stop the growth of the gene causing cancer. Additionally, another way gene therapy works again chronic disease is for the altered gene to be permanently removed and replaced with its copy.
  • Eliminates genetic disorders: The diseases that are passed from parents to offspring are genetic disorders. Gene therapy aims at completely eradicating the chances of inheriting diseases. Researchers proposed that once a parent removes the gene that is causing a particular ailment for them, it would be impossible to pass the disease to the offspring.
  • Recurrence of the disease: Although gene therapy is an effective treatment for curing diseases, scientists are concerned about the ailment resurfacing again. The testing stage is yet to reveal whether the cure would be permanent or not. Although the researchers have their doubts about the sustainability of the treatment, they would not stop their experiments.
  • Resistance to new gene: This is another significant fact about gene therapy. Although the process is effective against various diseases, some bodies are resistant to the new gene. Scientist discovered that the antibodies in individuals that had a mutated gene removed and replace by a copy developed resistant to the new gene. This happened because the immune system recognized the new gene as a foreign body.

Bottom Line

Gene therapy is a technique that has not been perfected. Although it has proven to be effective against various diseases, it still has some setbacks. You can conduct a more extensive research on gene therapy so as to know more about its pros and cons. However, we are certain that gene therapy would be a perfected procedure in the nearest future.

Photo Credit: Rdmag