When surveyed and studied – cancer tops the list of life-risking diseases that are critical, severe, and most difficult to treat even in such advanced times. Scientists and medical experts have been working on making possible developments and discover new ways to fight off the disease. A few of the techniques that are currently under the limelight of the medial community include cell and gene therapy. Since certain conditions are known to be genetically inherited when using a single functionally defective gene, the concept of gene therapy argues that the diseases causing gene can be replaced or eliminated by insertion or expression of a normal gene by a process known as gene-replacement therapy.
Cancer Gene Therapy focuses on using recombinant DNA to augment other existing treatments using vaccines as immunotherapeutic. As cancer occurs in the form of a multistep process where there is a variety of somatic gene alterations, correcting all those genes may be a daunting process; since the entirety of the cancer-causing cells may yet be unknown.
Gene replacement therapy is currently being utilized by creating certain cancer vaccines. The vaccines work by training the patient’s immune system to recognize the cancer cells by using highly antigenic and immunostimulatory cells. The cancer cells are harvested from the patient’s body and grown in vitro, where they are modified to be more identifiable by the immune system.
Some gene therapies actually make the cancer cells more sensitive to treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Inserting the modified genes into cancer cells is still remains a complicated process. Therefore, new ways are being developed that enable the altered genes to be inserted into the cells; another technique is by the use of a carrier called a vector and the most common vectors being used are in the form of viruses as they can quickly enter the cells and deliver the genetic materials. The various gene therapies being studied and experimented on offer hope to the world where cancer is becoming more prevalent, as more and more people are becoming prone to it. Experts speculate cell and gene therapies will bring us closer to finding a definitive cure for the notorious disease.