Dallas, TX: Genes are located on the chromosomes inside the cells of a body, and are biologically made up “deoxyribonucleic’ acid. There are about 30,000 to 40,000 genes in a single person. The function of these genes is to carry instructions that permit the cells to produce specific proteins. These proteins are called enzymes.
These genes are responsible for developing characteristics such as the physical strength, for the transportation of blood in carrying oxygen to the different parts of the body and for the determination of the colors of the hair and the eyes.
A gene can be transported to a cell through a. carrier These carriers are known as ‘vectors’ These are in the form of ‘viruses’.
Gene therapy is a process, in which, the alteration of a person’s genes’ material is made possible to recognize, fight and kill the disease.
Gene therapy is being studied, with different views and angles in many different types of cancers. The cells, with the help of the gene technology, develop the ability to kill the cancerous cells, and open the way to a positive treatment.
In some cases, through this therapy, the healthy genes have been able to replace the missing or the alternate genes. Since these alternative or missing genes have been found to cause cancer, these newly developed genes are able to tackle and finish off the cancerous cells.
The studies have also proved that in order to develop a positive immune response, the gene therapy has been able to stimulate the natural ability of the human body, to attack the cancerous cells and tumors.
Other scientists have inserted the healthy genes into the cancerous cells These cancerous cells become more sensitive, when they are treated with the radiation and the chemotherapy the cancerous growth stops very easily.
In another approach, a ‘ pro-drug’ which is an inactive form of a toxic drug, is administered to the patients. This treatment has also given positive results., in the destruction of the infected cells
The process of transferring genes is very simple. Since the viruses are used as vectors. they deliver the desired gene to the cell. The viruses differ in transferring genes to the cell, due to their ability to infect. The genes are able to alter the cell’s DNA. permanently or temporarily.
Retrovirus is much preferred in delivering the desired genes. Other viruses, used, are the ‘adenovirus’, the adeno-associated virus’, and the ‘herpis’ virus. These different viruses have different characteristics in the transferring of genes, in the recognition of cells, and in the altering of the cell’s DNA
In fact, the analysis of complex genetic patters have opened new routes for the classification of tumors, in the identification of tissues and in response to anti-cancer treatments.