Gene Therapy For Cancer Treatment

Gene Therapy For Cancer Treatment

By James Witherspoon

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, claiming over half a million lives each year. While doctors and researchers understand the basic causes of cancer, they are still developing methods to effectively treat this deadly disease. One new type of cancer treatment that is currently in clinical trials is called gene therapy.

Normally, a person who is diagnosed with cancer will undergo a combination of the traditional treatment methods, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, not all forms of cancer respond the same way to these traditional treatments, and some forms of this disorder hardly respond to this treatment at all. Thus, doctors and scientists are currently trying many new types of potential treatment methods to see if they can combat cancer. Some of these newer forms are already in clinical trials, such as gene therapy.

To understand gene therapy, it is important to first realize how cancer works. Your cells contain packets of information in genes, which are long strands of instructions made from DNA or RNA. Certain sequences in DNA encode information for building proteins, carrying out cell processes, and other important functions. One more important part of DNA, however, is also the instruction for growth and division. If this part of the genes become lost or changed, your cells can suddenly grow rapidly and uncontrollably. This leads to cancerous tumors, which can then spread to the rest of your body.

Gene therapy works to address these problematic genes as well as add extra information into your cells to help them fight cancer. Doctors and scientists insert this DNA into both healthy cells and cancerous cells to combat your disorder at the source of the problem. There are several ways that they will use genetic information in order to help you, such as:

  • Replacing missing or mutated genes with healthy ones
  • Inserting genes into immune system cells to better prepare them for fighting cancer
  • Placing DNA into cancerous cells to make them more susceptible to chemotherapy and radiation
  • Injecting “suicide genes” into cancer cells to destroy them
  • Installing genes into tumors that prevent them from growing blood vessels

Some cancers, such as mesothelioma, do not respond well to traditional treatment, so patients may decide to instead participate in clinical studies. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should make sure that you understand all of your treatment options, including gene therapy, before making a decision as to the course of your treatment.

For more information regarding this deadly disease, please visit the Mesothelioma Help Center today.

If you are in need of specialized medical care Mercy Jets can help you get to the best facility for your condition.  Call us at 888-220-4590 and talk with one of our case managers.

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