Cancer Gene Therapy is the essential gene and cellular therapy resource for cancer researchers and clinicians, keeping readers up to date with the latest developments in gene and cellular therapies for cancer.
Gene therapy is a treatment that involves altering the genes inside your body’s cells to prevent disease. Cancer is an abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells because of gene mutations and can arise in many cells. No single mutation is found in all cancers. In healthy adults, the immune system may recognize and get rid of the cancer cells; unfortunately, cancer cells can sometimes evade the immune system leading to expansion and spread of those cancer cells leading to serious life threatening disease.
Gene therapy is a complicated section of research, and many questions remain unanswered. Some cancers come from more than one gene, and some vectors, if used incorrectly, can in fact cause cancer or other diseases. Replacing faulty genes with working copies also brings up ethical problems that must be addressed before these therapies can be accepted to prevent cancer. Talk to your cancer specialist about the implications of gene therapy.
Gene therapy is definitely an experimental treatment that involves inserting genetic material into your cells to give them a new function or restore military services weapons function, as cancer may be caused by damaged or missing genes, also referred to as gene mutations. Although gene therapy may be one way to overcome these changes and treat or prevent cancer, these days it is only available through clinical trials.
Gene faults and cancer
Many gene changes that could make a cell become cancerous come from environmental or lifestyle factors, such as smoking. But some people have inherited faulty genes that improve their risk of particular types of cancer. Inherited damaged genes cause between 2 and 3 out of every 100 cancers. We have a section that explains much more about genes and inherited cancer risk.
Types of treatment
Gene therapy can be completed in two ways: outside (ex vivo) or inside (in vivo) your body. Ex-vivo techniques involve taking some of the cancer cells from your body, injecting them with good genes, and then putting it well into your body. The in-vivo process mandates that good genes be put directly into a tumor, which might be difficult depending on its location or maybe the cancer has spread. Scientists generally use two types of cells in gene therapy – the tumor cells themselves and immune system cells that attack the tumors.
How gene therapy is administered
Initially, cells are obtained from a blood sample. The genes are isolated and altered (engineered) in the laboratory. They’re then attached to a chemical or inserted right into a cell, known as the ‘vector’. At present, the changed genes inside the vector are usually given by injection right into a vein. They may also be injected directly into the tumour. As this is still an experimental treatment, the way in which in which gene therapy is given may vary or change as new techniques develop.
In gene therapy, genes aren’t directly inserted into the cells. Rather, viruses are used for your purpose. The viruses which are generally used in this therapy are, retroviruses, adenoviruses, herpes viruses, lentiviruses, and poxviruses. Sometimes, a liposome can also be used as a carrier. A liposome is really an artificially created tiny vesicle that can be used to deliver nutrients and drugs in to the cells.
Viruses can be used for both the ‘ex vivo’ and the ‘in vivo’ gene therapy. In ‘ex vivo’ gene therapy, an example of blood or bone marrow cells are collected in the patient. The viruses using the necessary genes are then introduced into these cells inside a laboratory, which are then injected in to the patient’s body. On the other hand, the ‘in vivo’ gene therapy requires the direct insertion of the viruses or liposomes which contain the desired genetic material.