Human Gene Therapy Essay

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Human Gene Therapy

What is human gene therapy? Human gene therapy is a procedure that is being used in an attempt to treat genetic and other diseases. Many ethical, social and safety concerns are being raised on the use of human genetic engineering. Gene therapy techniques will introduce copies of a "healthy" gene into cells of the body. The disease will be controlled if the introduced genes work normally. This is called somatic gene therapy because it introduces the gene into a somatic or body cell. Any cells that could divide to form sperms or eggs will not have genes introduced into them through somatic gene therapy. The insertion of a single gene into the somatic cells of an individual with a life threatening genetic disease is
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These healthy genes that are inserted should not be accepted into other cells in the body. There have been a number of proposed methods for inserting human genes into target cells. When scientists discovers a gene that is faulty, the research begins. Scientists compare the faulty gene to the healthy functional gene. This could tell scientists a lot about the faulty gene and how it affects the chemical reactions within a cell. This may lead to the development of new drugs to control the condition. Human suffering, due to inherited diseases, have been reduced more by the use of genetic diagnosis than any other medical technology. The identity of a gene responsible for a genetic disease must be known before scientists can begin to consider gene therapy.

The task of picking one defective gene out of the approximately 100,000 genes that constitutes the human genome may seem overwhelming, but recent advances in molecular biology have made the process relatively straight forward. Scientists need to know the identity of the abnormal gene's protein product before any choice of technique can be selected.

Gene therapy techniques effectiveness depends upon the life span of the target cells. The whole gene therapy process will have to be repeated regularly if the target cells only survive for a few weeks. "It would be much more effective if the therapy genes could be directed into those stem cells

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