What is Gene Therapy?
Gene therapy is a relatively new concept, it is an experimental technique that uses genes to theoretically treat and prevent various types of Illnesses/Genetic Disorders such as Haemophilia, Cancer, Chronic Granulomatous Disorder and Cystic Fibrosis. The process of gene therapy involves the use of a Viral Vector (Most Common Form) other forms of delivery which are non-viral include the injection of naked DNA, sonoporation and magnetofection.
Diagram 1 .1 Shows us how an unmodified Virus under normal conditions work.
How It Works?
The viruses DNA is removed and replaced by the needed DNA that corresponds to the specific required gene, which is then to be inserted into a human body, once its inside, the cell's gene-reading machinery uses the information in the gene to build RNA and protein molecules, these proteins can therefore carry out their specific jobs within the ...view middle of the document...
It is believed that Gene Therapy can be a possible solution in fixing the mutated gene that causes this disorder, this affected gene is CFTR responsible for the regulation of the components of sweat.
Diagram 1.3 Sowing Cystic Fibrosis
Is there a catch to this miracle cure?
The future of medicine is what many call it today, it allows the opening of so many possible solutions to many diseases that are untreatable because of them being genetic but there are always disadvantages that come with things that sound too good to be true.
These disadvantages included are that the current knowledge and understanding of the treatment is relatively limited, therefore leaving its safety level unknown, and the treatments current understanding is mostly based on scientific theory rather than solid fact. Recent clinical trial results show that the effects of the treatment is short lived and much more research must be done before it can produce a long term effect.
One last disadvantage of gene therapy is that with current knowledge there is no guarantee that the vector carrying the healthy gene will end up in the specific place it is intended which can therefore lead to a risk of causing even more damage to the genetic make-up of that individual. The disadvantages aren’t the only things that go against the gene therapy, it has caused many ethical, moral and religious issues within today’s society.
Ethics revolving around Gene Therapy?
Ethical issues always play some part in the development of new possibly life changing experimental techniques, whether it is humane or not, changing what god intended and the manipulation of cells that shouldn’t be manipulated with etc. Many ethical issues regarding gene therapy have risen and these issues include the intrusive nature of gene therapy which will allows our genetic make up to be known, some believe that this is wrong as we will find out about things that we should have never known in the first place this can be found out by the use of genetic screening.