What is Gene Therapy for Cancer Treatment?
Cancer is a term used to denote a group of ailments caused by the abnormalities in the chemical instructions of our body called genes. This article tries to seek answers to the query
what is gene therapy for cancer
. The treatment technique has emerged as the latest area of research in cancer remedy as substantial amount of knowledge has been gained on the working of cells in the last two decades.
What is Gene Therapy for Cancer?
Substances which cause abnormalities through mutation in the genetic structures DNA are known as carcinogens. The technique primarily involves repairing of the affected gene of cancer.
Insights gained in the field of molecular biology have revealed that there are several genes responsible for providing protection to our body against cancer. The most potent of these protective genes is the P53 gene.
According to estimation, abnormalities in this single gene are responsible for 50 percent of the malignancies in humans. Functions of this gene involve killing of malignant cells, inhibiting the growth of these cells and preventing the healthy cells from turning malignant.
Owing to these basic roles of the gene it is known as the genetic guardian. Gene therapy primarily focuses on the repairing of this vital gene in order to address the treatment of a particular cancer ailment.
Drugs known as Gendicines contain normal tumor suppressing genes along with a compound modified adenovirus serotype 5. These drugs are used as vehicles to pass on the healthy p53 genes to the target malignant cells for the purpose of their repair.
Apart from repairing the malignant DNA, the p53 gene also stops the abnormal growth of the cancer cells, keeps the integrity of the genome intact, ensures the programmed death of cancer cells and stops the growth of new blood vessels.
It also blocks the sending of signals between the cells of the tumor. It cuts the supply of glucose to the cancer cells and does allow the production of ATP in these malignant cells causing their destruction.
Clinical trials on
Gene therapy for cancer
require approval from the National Institute of Health, the United States Food and Drug Administration and review boards of two scientific institutions before they are made available for the general public.
There are some legal, ethical and social constraints which are needed to be addressed prior to the implementation of this potent cancer remedy on a larger scale. The Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) Research Program set up in 1990 takes care of the issues related to these facets in the United States.