Essay on Gene Therapy and Its Effect on Cancer

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Gene Therapy and Its Effect on Cancer The era of scientific advancement in the twentieth century has encouraged several scientific fields to merge into a new, futuristic science called Biotechnology. One idea behind Biotechnical science is taking advantage of molecular biology. At the forefront of this advancement is gene therapy which " attempts to treat disease at its origin on the molecular level"(Kreeger,1996). "Essentially, this therapy deliberately introduces genes into the human cells to compensate for aberrant genes that cause genetic disease" (Beese, 1996). This therapy can be administered in two ways. One is germ-line therapy which not only treats the cells of that individual but these treated cells could be passed onto…show more content…
Either way, genes do play a role in cancer and viable ways to effect the problem genes and stop cellular growth are needed. Effective approaches to treat cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Surgery is very effective in the early stages of the disease but there is a risk that all of the infected cells weren't removed or the cancer may come back. Radiation can also be very effective but the side affects can be very harsh for the patient. Along with this, normal cells of the body have the potential to be altered by the treatment process and cause an entirely new set of difficulties. Though chemotherapy has been successful in many cases, there is a fear that like bacteria, the cancer cells can become resistant to these drugs (National Medical Center,1996). It seems clear that somatic cell gene therapy could be a viable treatment for those people who have had little success from the other treatments or possibly prevent the cancer from returning. One type of somatic cell therapy is taking advantage of a cell already found in the body called TIL or tumor infiltrating lymphocytes that come from other parts of the body to combat bacterial infections and have the ability to attack and destroy cancer tissue in the same manner. These lymphocytes are taken from the body and inserted with a lab synthesized gene that produces TNF. TNF or tumor necrosis
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