Gene Therapy : An Experimental Technique

1346 WordsOct 30, 20166 Pages
Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease. The concept of gene therapy is the modification of human DNA. Within gene therapy, mutated gene that cause disease are replaced with healthy copy of the gene, mutated genes that are acting incorrectly are inactivated. This process involves the transfer of the genetic material into a cell, tissue or to treat a patient suffering an illness or disease (Inder M. Verma and Matthew D. Weitzman). In the future, this technique may allow doctors to treat a disorder instead of using drugs or surgery. In initial stages, gene therapy was used to treat patients with only life threatening diseases and illnesses; however is it now used to treat non-life-threating diseases too as a means to improve the standards of life of patients. Depending on the type of cell being treated, there are commonly two different types of gene therapy used. The first is somatic cell gene therapy (SCGT) which involves transferring a section of DNA into any cell, for instance cells of the bone marrow, expect from sex cells such as gametes, gametocytes or undifferentiated stem cells. The alteration of these cells affects the patient only and any offspring produced from the patient will not inherit the effects of the modified cells (Mavilio F; Ferrari G 2008). The second main type of gene therapy is germline. This process involves altering the sperm, eggs or early embryos of an individual (Henzig 1998). Any manipulation of the
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