What is Gene Therapy?
Gene therapy utilized DNA as a pharmaceutical agent to treat cancerous diseases. Gene therapy derives its name from the premise that DNA can be used to alter or supplement genes within a human’s cells as a means to treat disease. The most prolific form of gene therapy uses DNA that encodes a therapeutic gene to replace mutated ones. Other types of gene therapy will involve a direct action to correct mutations in the cell’s bodies. More direct treatment options uses DNA that encodes a protein drug to provide therapy to altered bodies. In this form of gene therapy, a protein drug (rather than a natural gene) intercepts the DNA located inside the cells within the human body. When inside, the DNA becomes expressed, resulting in the production of new proteins. These therapeutic proteins are used to treat the individual’s disease.
How is Gene Therapy Used for Mesothelioma?
Gene therapy, by accessing a patient’s genetic code that is responsible for predisposing the body to cancer, is used to combat mesothelioma. Gene therapy aims to understand how and why proteins within cells are resilient to cancer, while others are not. Therefore, gene therapy not only aims to eliminate cancerous cells from metastasizing, but also seeks to understand why the human body is susceptible to the proliferation of the disease.
In the past, it was thought that a human’s gene makeup was complete upon birth. This thought operated under the premise that the body could not affect conditions during life. This; however, is not the case—a number of human activities, including exposure to sunlight, smoking and digesting certain foods can affect a human’s DNA. Once DNA is affected, the body’s genetic code changes. New insight provided by these alterations caused medical professionals to view several conditions like mesothelioma in a new light.
The genes latent in gene therapy are referred to as “suicide genes”. These genes have been researched as a means to stop the replication of malignant cells. Studies have also begun to evaluate if the replacing cancer generating genes with genes susceptible to certain remedies is a reasonable means to eradicate mesothelioma cells.
In essence, mesothelioma sufferers become infected with a “healthy infection” that attacks “bad cells” to ultimately shift their genetic landscape. The two primary gene therapy treatment options to combat mesothelioma include:
Replacement Gene Therapy: This form of mesothelioma gene therapy replaces missing or damaged genes with normal genes that regulates cell division and cell growth. The replaced genes then attempt to suppress tumor growth.
Knockout Gene Therapy: This form of gene therapy helps combat mesothelioma cancer by assaulting genes that create tumors.
What to Know About Mesothelioma Gene Therapy:
Gene therapy as a means to combat mesothelioma cancer attempts to alter a gene’s structure or function. This mesothelioma treatment option is a promising treatment that is currently being tested. The concept behind gene therapy is somewhat simple: gene therapy attempts to replace faulty genes with ones that work properly.
Gene therapy is currently undergoing clinical trials. Any disorder or cancerous disease that involves genetic changes may be a candidate for this type of treatment. Cancer, because it incorporates several gene flaws, may require gene therapy to be used in conjunction with other cancer therapies, like chemotherapy.