Cancer Treatment With Gene Therapy

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Cancer Treatment With Gene Therapy

Gene therapy has been progressing over the past half-century and has led to many discoveries pertaining to the treatment of cancer. Normal body cells can either become cancerous by losing or gaining a function. To treat cancer, scientists can either replace damaged genes (such as a damaged tumor suppressing gene) in the malignant cells or stop the cells from overexpressing genes (such as oncogenes, or genes that have been altered and can cause the development of cancer in normal body tissue) (Culver, 97). Gene therapy has many benefits over other cancer treatment methods.

“ Gene therapy is the insertion of a functioning gene into the cells of a patient to correct an inborn error of metabolism (i.e. genetic abnormality or birth defect) to provide new function in a cell (e.g. insertion of an immunostimulatory gene into cancer cells to vaccinate a patient against their own cancer) (Culver, xvi). There are currently two types of gene therapy. Somatic gene therapy, which is currently the only accepted method of gene therapy for use in humans, is the changing of all the cells of the body except for the reproductive cells. This type of gene therapy can only fix a genetic disorder for one generation. Germ-line gene therapy, which is not currently accepted for use in humans, is the altering of the reproductive cells. This is the type of gene therapy that can cure a genetic disorder for more than one generation (Culver, xvi). There are a few methods of altering cells in gene therapy. The first method is in vivo. The in vivo method is where the cells are altered inside of the body. For the in vivo method to work accurately, there needs to be a certain way for the genes to reach the target cells (a ve...

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...ays inside of the cell until it is evicted by the body’s immune system.

Cancer can be cured with gene therapy by many methods. The tumor suppressor genes can be replaced, you can use gene-marking methods to find cancerous cells, and remove them, an d cells can be stopped from overexpressing genes Gene therapy works by genetically altering cells of the body, but not reproductive cells, (somatic gene therapy), or by altering the reproductive cells (germ-line gene therapy). Both of these methods are used to alter genetically diseased cells to treat genetic diseases. Gene therapy is a developing field in genetics that is being used to find ways to cure cancer and other diseases that has been progressing over the past 50 years.

Works Cited

Culver, Kenneth W. Gene Therapy: a Primer for Physicians. New York: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 1996. xv-135.
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