Gene therapy seems apparently very simple as it is to supply the human body with a gene that is sure to correct the biological disorder that is responsible for any disease. Gene therapy has gained popularity over the years after its inception in the 1970s. The science of genetics underwent a massive development in the 80s and established itself as a promising approach in the field of treatments of many rare diseases.
What is Gene Therapy?
Genes control the heredity and thus provides the biological code for determining the cell’s specific functions. The main idea behind gene therapy is to provide a gene that has the power to supplant or correct the diseases and also control the functions of the various cells that are not functioning properly. Facts which you must know about gene therapy are listed below:
- Gene contains your DNA, which controls your form and function.
- Gene therapy replaces and adds a new gene or even replaces the faulty gene and thus improves your ability to fight against various diseases.
- Gene therapy has a great potential to cure diseases like cancer, heart diseases, cystic fibrosis, AIDS, hemophilia and diabetes.
- Studies on Gene therapy are still continuing and are available to you in various countries only as a clinical trial process.
How Gene Therapy Works?
Researchers are trying out various ways to implement gene therapy. Few of such techniques are:
Replacing the Mutated Genes
To replaces a non-functional gene or an incorrect gene helps to treat a disease like cancer.
Fixing the Mutated Genes
To turn off the mutated genes that are responsible for the disease is a technique to inhibit the progress of the disease.
Diseased Cells are made Prominent
Gene therapy helps the doctors to train your immune system to know the cells that pose a threat to the body.
Maternal Gene Therapy
The pregnant women are treated using genetic drug which results in production of vascular endothelial growth factor.
Why Maternal Gene Therapy Trial is needed during Pregnancy?
The new breakthrough in the field of gene therapy is the maternal gene therapy where a pregnant woman has to be treated with genetic drug which is sure to reduce still birth to a great extent. The treatment is still on trial stage and a study has shown that many women in Europe are ready to take the clinical trials. Even the study has shown that there are hardly any legal or ethical objections related to the trial of maternal gene therapy.
The need of maternal gene therapy is to treat the early –onset of fetal growth restriction which affects almost 8 percent of pregnancies. The condition is caused by low blood flow due to placental insufficiency and is still an incurable one. The breakthrough development in the area promises to cure the disease by maternal gene therapy.
The Gene therapy along with its positive side also poses certain threat to your body and sometimes those threats are considered unethical as they can bring unwanted changes. Few such threats are:
- Targets wrong cells
- Immune system reaction
- Induced virus may gain its original ability.
- Genes may get in the wrong place in the DNA.