Gene therapy is a technique of genetic engineering which uses genes to treat different diseases. This therapy is still developing but main purpose of the gene therapy is that the healthy genes are replace with the defected genes which do not function properly in normal conditions. Many viruses or bacteria are used as vectors in this technique which carry the genes of action. Gene therapy has great importance in the field of medical for the treatment of many genetic and acquired diseases. Genes are inserted into the cells by using gene therapy and can be used for the treatment of dangerous disease cancer.
Causes of Cancer:-
One cause of the cancer is the missing of the gene or alterations in the genes. In most of the cases, carcinogens are responsible for causing cancer. The carcinogens damage the function of the DNA molecule. There are certain carcinogens which mainly cause cancer like tobacco, smoke of the cars, radiations like gamma or x-rays and arsenic substances. In some cases sun is also responsible for causing the cancer if skin is directly exposed to the sun. These carcinogens release such radicals which enter the cells of the body and cause them function improperly.
Treatment of Cancer:-
Gene therapy is can work in two ways. In one method, the gene therapy is performed on germline cells e.g. eggs or sperm functional genes are inserted which replace the damaged genes. While in the other method, genes are inserted in somatic or stem cells. Gene therapy has given hope to the patients of cancer because it has devised a new way of treating the cancer. Cancer is usually caused by the damage or mutations in the molecule of DNA which in return causes the abnormal growth of cells that result in the occurrence of the disease of cancer. Many kinds of cancers can be treated with the gene therapy like breast cancer, lung cancer, bone and leukemia. The main strategy of gene therapy in treating these cancers is either destroy the tumor cells completely or inserting such genes which stop the growth of cancer cells.
In gene therapy, with the help of viral vectors, genes are inserted into the cancerous cells. Most of the viruses which can be used as vectors are retroviruses, herpes viruses, poxviruses and adenoviruses. Liposome can also be used for the treatment. By using laboratory methods, desired genes re inserted into the viruses which make them vectors then these vectors are inserted in the damaged cancerous cells. These vectors release genes which replace the healthy genes or make corrections in the damaged genes. Sometimes, the immune system of the person is modified in the way that it fights against the cancerous cells and repairs the cells.
Drawbacks of gene Therapy:-
Gene therapy when used for the treatment of cancer may have disadvantages also. The biggest disadvantage is that that the inserted viral vectors may damage the healthy cells of the body and affect their functions. There is another possibility is that genetic material might enter into the germ cells which will pass that genetic material into the new born baby and baby might suffer from the cancer also. So if the scientists insert the viral vectors, they should know about the exact location of the cancerous cells and then should take action.
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