Gene Therapy Essay

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Gene Therapy Gene therapy is a powerful new technology that has the ability to change the way medicine is practiced in the future. The potential of gene therapy offers great hope for cure and alleviation of suffering from genetic disorders that now plague numerous people. Within this past decade, much research has been conducted to learn about the aspects of gene therapy, but there is still much to learn before it is an effective medical treatment. Despite failures to prove any clinical efficacy, many experts of gene therapy predict that the first clinical success will occur in the near future. Gene therapy is a highly controversial topic that entails numerous ethical issues that need to be thoroughly analyzed before it is widely…show more content…
One type is called somatic gene therapy, which involves the manipulation of gene expression in cells that will be corrective to the patient but not inherited to the next generation. This is the type of gene therapy that is currently being intensely studied in laboratories throughout the world. The other form of gene therapy is called germline gene therapy, which involves the genetic modification of germ cells that will pass the change on to the next generation. Little, if any, research is currently being conducted in germline intervention largely for technical and ethical reasons. However, many advocates of this type predict this will be a realistic option of gene therapy in the future. How does gene therapy work? When research on gene therapy began, the basic challenge was to develop a technique for delivering genetic material to the cells of the patient. Researchers first learned that gene delivery would not be effective unless the corrective genes were inserted into the nuclei of thousands or millions of diseases cells (Licking 96). When researchers simply injected the genes into the specific tissue where they were needed, no treatment occurred because the genes did reach the cells nuclei (Licking 96). Researchers learned that a therapeutic gene must be delivered by a gene-delivery system or "vector" in order to be inserted into the target cells of the patient's body. Many of the vectors

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