What is Gene therapy? A technique which involves the replacement of defective genes with the normal ones in order to treat genetic disorders is called as gene therapy. It is an artificial method that introduces the DNA into the cells of human body. The first gene therapy was successfully accomplished in the year 1989.
The simple process of gene therapy is as shown in the figure below-In the figure, the cell with the defective gene is injected with a normal gene which helps in the normal functioning of the cell. This technique is employed mainly to fight against the diseases in the human body and also to treat the genetic disorders. The damaged proteins are replaced in the cell by the insertion of DNA into that cell. Generally the improper protein production in the cell leads to diseases. These diseases are treated using the gene therapy technique. For example- the cancer cells contain faulty cells which are different from the normal cells and have defective proteins. Hence if these proteins are not replaced, this disease would prove to be fatal.
Types of Gene Therapy
Basically there are two types as explained below-
- Somatic gene therapy- This type usually occurs in the somatic cells of human body. This is related to a single person and the only person who has the damaged cells will be replaced with the healthy cells.In this method the therapautic genes are transfeered in to the somatics cells or the stem cells of human body. This technique is considered as the best and safe methods of gene therapies.
- Germline gene therapy- It occurs in the germline cells of the human body. Generally this method is adopted to treat the genetic variations those are passed from one individual to others or from the parents to their children. The changes are passed on from one generation to another.
Application of Gene Therapy
- It is used in the replacement of genes that cause medical ill-health
- The method generally destroys the problem causing genes
- It helps the body to fight against diseases by adding genes to the human body
- This method is employed to treat diseases such as cancer, ADA deficiency and etc.
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