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Using Gene Therapy as a Treatment for Cancer - Developments and Future Prospects - Literature review Example

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Using Gene Therapy as a Treatment for Cancer
This paper explores the scope of gene therapy for cancer treatment in the context of current developments and future prospects. Cancer is the second potential cause of death in Western countries. …
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Using Gene Therapy as a Treatment for Cancer - Developments and Future Prospects
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"Using Gene Therapy as a Treatment for Cancer - Developments and Future Prospects"

Download file to see previous pages Cancer mainly affects human organs including lung, prostate, and bone.
Breast cancer is common in females. Although scientists have proposed a series of therapies that can improve patient outcomes, definitive cure for cancer has not been developed yet. Over the last decade, researchers gave more emphasis on gene therapy development as they believed that this treatment method would effectively contribute to cancer prevention. The process of gene therapy is mainly concerned with the modification or alteration of genetic material such as genes and DNA, which play a notable role in determining the characteristic traits of individuals.
Different gene therapy methods mainly focus on three basic approaches and they are destruction of cancerous cells, prevention of the growth of cancerous cells, and improvement of normal cells’ ability to fight against the affected cells. In gene therapy, viruses are used to replace cancerous cells instead of inserting genes directly into the patient’s body. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of retroviruses since experiments showed that this virus may cause the development of other diseases like leukemia. By the end of 2010, more than 1060 gene therapy protocols have been suggested or practiced for various cancers; this figure constitutes over 64% of all gene therapy experiments in humans in the United States. Although, majority of such trials reported modest therapeutic responses, the clinical efficacy of such practices is still to be proven. The major disadvantage of gene therapy method is the possibility of infection of the healthy cells attributed to the viruses used for gene delivery. Introduction The history of gene therapy started during the beginning of the 1960’s. In the opinion of Bettelheim, Brown, Campbell &Farrell (2010, p. 721), gene therapy is a complicated medical procedure by which genes within an individual’s cells and biological tissues are altered, and removed in order to treat diseases. In other words, the gene therapy intends to correct a genetic mutation by the addition, alteration, or removal of specific genes. By the application of gene therapy, the restored cells get the proper instructions for building proteins and thereby the body mechanisms return to the normal state. In 1970, Stanfield Rogers, an American doctor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, tried to apply gene therapy as a method to treat two sisters who had suffered from a genetic disorder called argininemia (‘History of gene therapy’ 2011). Although, Rogers’ effort was unsuccessful, it is considered as a milestone in the history of gene therapy development. By the end of 1977, scientists could successfully apply gene therapy techniques to deliver a gene into the cells of mammals (‘Gene therapy/ human genome project/ history of gene therapy/ future of gene therapy’ n.d). As Jain (2000, pp. 3-4) points out, the year 1989 witnessed tremendous improvements in gene therapy development when scientists began to research the scope of gene therapy in cancer treatment. A team of researchers including, Drs. Kenneth Culver, W. French Anderson, Michael Blaese, and Steven Rosenberg conducted a study to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the gene therapy process in cancer patients. The research team “grew tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL cells) from people with the deadly cancer malignant melanoma, and then they engineered a virus to put a DNA market into those cells” (‘Gene therapy’ n.d). This experiment assisted the researchers to conclude two things: TIL cells can be applied to treat cancer and the engineered virus can effectively and safely work in humans. (Baruch 2005) tells that in 1990, American doctor W. French Anderson conducted a detailed research on a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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