Gene Therapy Assignment Help
Gene therapy essentially is a treatment involving alteration of the genes that reside in the cells of a human body so that diseases can be prevented from occurring. The DNA of a person is contained in the genes. In other words, the DNA is similar to a code controlling most of the form and functions of the body. The height of a human being for example and the physiology is monitored. Genes malfunction is the root cause of diseases.
Through gene therapy a malfunctioning gene can be replaced or a new gene can be added. As a result of replacing or adding a new gene, diseases could be cured or the ability of the body to combat diseases could be enhanced. Gene therapy is extremely effective in treating a gamut of diseases including
- cystic fibrosis
- heart disease
Research is ongoing on how and when gene therapy should be used. Clinical trial on gene therapy is currently underway as well. Genes that have undergone mutation are replaced as a few cells malfunction or don’t function at all causing infection. If the malfunctioning genes are replaced then that would be the treatment for certain ailments.
Once genes have undergone mutation, they could cause diseases. To prevent diseases the plan of action usually is to deactivate the genes which are a quick fix. A far better solution is to enable the genes that can inhibit, combat and prevent diseases.
Cells with infection or that carry diseases are far more apparent to the immune system. In a few instances however, the diseased cells aren’t under attack by the immune system. The reason being, the diseased cell’s intrusion is as though it’s a camouflage which isn’t recognized by the immune system. Only doctors could apply gene therapy in a manner so that the immune system is trained to make note of the cells that are a potential threat.
The potential risks of gene therapy are that direct insertion of a gene into the cells isn’t possible easily. Rather, it has to be usually inserted using a vehicle known as a vector. The most widely used gene therapy vectors are viruses as they are able to recognize the genes of specific cells and transport genetic stuff into them. Removing and replacing the original genes that carry viruses causing diseases with the genes needed to stop disease has a few risks attached.
The immune system could consider the introduction of recent viruses as an intrusion and they would be under attack. This could lead to inflammation and even organ malfunction in extreme circumstances.
As viruses could affect variety of cells, the possibility exists that the viruses that have undergone mutation could cause infection of other cells as well in addition to target cells that contain genes that have undergone mutation. Should this occur, the risk of damaging healthy cells exists, which could be the cause of cancer and other illnesses.
The possibility also exists that once the virus gets into the body, it could make a full recovery and again be capable of causing disease.
With the wrong insertion of the newly introduced genes in the DNA, the effect would be that it may cause the formation of tumour. In a few clinical trials this has been an occurrence.
At the moment, gene therapy is administered in clinical trials only. Clinical trials are research or case studies that aid doctors in determining as to whether or not through gene therapy safety is compromised. How effective gene therapy is for the body is revealed to doctors through gene therapy. The specific procedure of the therapy is dependent on the disease and the kind of gene therapy.
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