Genes are a big part of the body. They control the production of particular proteins that help perform important functions of the body. Genes control the proteins that help repair skin and bones, heal wounds and transport oxygen from the lungs and the rest of the body. When a person has recovered from a hereditary disease their genes are damaged or mutated and the production of certain proteins can be at dangerous levels or be blocked causing symptoms or be life threatening. Researchers try to treat such illnesses by taking the damaged or missing genes and replace them with healthy ones (Gene Therapy Research). This procedure is called Gene Therapy. Though controversial, Gene therapy is on the rise of finding the curative for many different types of diseases. Diseases such as Cancer and AIDs have been known as incurable, but with Gene Therapy maybe one day this will change. There are interesting research trails that show impressive results in various studies from many scientists and institutes.
Gene therapy had its first break in the 1990’s when scientists successfully treated a four-year old girl named Ashanti Desilva. Desilva had a type of SCID called ADA-SCID. The disease has been called the “Bubble Boy” disease because people who have the disease have little or no immune system against germs and bacteria. Desilva was not completely cured of ADA-SCID but her symptoms were managed enough for her to live as a close as a normal life as someone with this disease could (Update: Genetic Engineering).
While Dysilva’s success story opened a window for Gene Therapy, not every case ended with such a successful ending. In the near end of the decade, Jesse Gelsinger, an 18-year-old teen who was participating in a Gene Therapy experiment for a rare liver disease died due to an inflammatory reaction to the adenovirus used to deliver the genes into the cell (Update: Genetic Engineering). After the death of Gelsinger, The gene trials were shut down by the FDA at this particular school, and in 2000, the government discussed oversight on Gene Therapy (Update: Genetic Engineering).
The article “Update: Genetic Engineering” also discusses the difference between Gene Therapy and germ line Gene Therapy. In Gene Therapy, most of the trails target somatic cells that don’t interfere with the reproductive system. Since this doesn’t interfere with the reproductive system, the recipient doesn’t pass the new traits on to their offspring. Germ line Gene Therapy affects the reproductive system like stem cells, sperm cells, and ova so the recipients then pass the new traits to their offspring. Since Germ Line Gene Therapy is passed on to their offspring, most people find this controversial. Some say it can benefit a family by eliminating a hereditary disease, while others think that this is playing God.
In the article, “Human Genome Research” Laurent Belsie talks about the current tests available to determine whether someone has the genes for colon or breast cancer....