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Human Gene Therapy Essay

919 words - 4 pages

As the world gets older, there are more and more diseases. Not every illness has a cure. But there are some scientific advances that can help with these illnesses. One of those, hopefully, will be the human gene therapy. A gene has nucleotide sequences, that when disrupted could create problems with protein synthesis; thus, diseases develop (Sandhyarani, 2009). What human gene therapy is, is inserting a nucleotide sequence into an individual’s gene, replacing the defective allele. Cell and tissue function would then continue on normally, and the disease would disappear.
Viruses are used as a way for the therapeutic gene to be inserted. They act as vectors that carry the new gene into the cell (Sandhyarani, 2009). Though there are risks when using viruses. The viruses can cause inflammation problems in the immune system and organ failure (Mayo Clinic, 2010). There is also always the possibility that the viruses could cause cancer and tumors (Mayo Clinic, 2010). Other risks involved with the human gene therapy include misguided insertions of the therapeutic gene and overproduction of a protein (Risk Factors, 2011). There is still a lot of research to be done so all these risks can disappear.
One of the diseases the human gene therapy might be able to treat would be Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (ASGCT, 2011). This disease is when children are born with a dysfunctional immune system. These victims are prone to infections and need bone marrow transplant. Six patients in Italy were treated using the human gene therapy (ASGCT, 2011). A therapeutic gene was inserted into the bone marrow cells. The patients were able to live their lives normally, with no side effects (ASGCT, 2011). Another disease the human gene therapy has been able to help in is Chronic Granulomatus Disorder (ASGCT, 2011). It is another immune system disease. Two patients in Germany whose bodies were not able to fight off infections are now living normal lives as they were treated with the human gene therapy (ASGCT, 2011).
In the United States, the human gene therapy was tested for hemophilia (ASGCT, 2011). This is a condition where internal bleeding occurs because the blood cannot clot, sometimes causing death. Although the therapeutic gene inserted helped in creating blood clots, there were still problems with the immune system rejecting it (ASGCT, 2011). The most popular disease being tested with human gene therapy is cancer. Of the trials with human gene therapy, two-thirds have to do with cancer (ASGCT, 2011). Other diseases worth noting that are also being tested include HIV, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease (ASGCT, 2011).
People have brought up a lot of ethical issues involved with the human gene therapy. One of them having to do with the...

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