Cancer is something that has been rapidly spreading like wildfire in the last 30 years or so. It affects us and the people whom we love and it can leave us disabled. Not knowing if we may get it from our bloodline or is we can get it from the environment that we live in. Quite frankly, it’s hard to escape that. You see its hard to avoid because we have to eat, breathe air, and we have to have shelter. There are some people who will swear up and down that cancer is 100% based on our lifestyle. It’s true to a certain extent, but also people have to also look at the statistics from 30-50 years ago when it was rare to get cancer. Our weight has changed as every one in the 70’s and 80’s era was thin. You can’t help to think that processed foods ,including GMO food , has something to do with this phenomenon. The way we grow food has evolved and the way we process food is different than 40 years ago.
There is cancer all around us and it seems that now a days people can easily name two or three people close to them that has this blood sucking disease. There is no cure for cancer at this time, but currently there is research that is going on presently to find a cure. One of the methods that are being used at this time is gene therapy for cancer. “Gene therapy is is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease.”(“Gene Therapy”, 2017). It’s regulated to a certain extent. “Generally, gene therapy can be categorized into two categories — germ line gene therapy and somatic gene therapy. The difference between these two approaches is that in somatic gene therapy genetic material is inserted in some target cells, but the change is not passed along to the next generation, whereas in germ line gene therapy the therapeutic or modified gene will be passed on to the next generation. This difference is of importance, since current legislation allows gene therapy only on somatic cell” (“History Of Gene Therapy”, 2017).Just recently in the news, the biggest pharmaceutical company, Pfzier, announced that they will roll out gene therapy medications.”In gene therapy, new genetic material is introduced into the body to correct a patient’s cells as needed”(“Gene Therapy Finally Here Who Will Pay”, 2017).
You see genes play an important part of who we are and is quite a sensitive , because one missing code or defect can result in death. Some people will be willing to experiment with these drugs to fix what is defect give in their genetic code. But this all comes as a price. “GlaxoSmithKline’s Strimvelis can cure the genetic disease and save precious lifes. But the $700,000 drug had only a couple of sales in 2016 and another two expected this year.”
When it comes to gene therapy is more targeted towards cancer. “The potential of gene therapy for cancer follows logically from the fact that cancer arises as a result
of single or multiple genetic alterations. Normal cells in the body follow a systematic sequence of events of growth, division and death. Unlike regular cells, cancer cells, generated due to several environmental causes and genetic aberrations, do
undergo apoptosis, or programmed cell death and instead continue to undergo growth and division.”(“Potential Therapeuticmodalities”, 2017).
“Although only two licensed cancer gene therapy products have been developed during the past 20 years, there is now a confluence of forces that should ensure substantially greater success in the next 5 years. Commercial groups have recognised that advances in our understanding of cancer biology are needed to develop more individualised targeted therapies that have high efficacy in identifiable patient subpopulations, and whose improved pharmacoeconomics enable sufficient reimbursement to justify development and distribution. Increasing clinical successes with gene-modified cell therapies such as CAR-T cells, which are producing 25-50% complete and sustained responses in early-phase clinical trials in advanced malignant diseases, predict wider acceptance of this approach to enhance host resistance to cancer. These advances, coupled with an improved understanding of vaccine technologies (including virotherapies) and the availability of monoclonal antibodies able to block signals that downregulate the immune response, are a potent combination, in which genetically modified cells targeted to tumours are stimulated in vivo by genetically modified tumour vaccines and further enhanced by antibodies that block immune inhibition. As investigators progressively exploit the potential synergies of cancer gene therapy, together with one or more of the safety switches established in clinical practice, we can expect increased success in this discipline. The challenge then will be to ensure that a sufficient cadre of skilled therapists will be available to deliver these novel products as they emerge from clinical trials.”(“Is cancer gene therapy an empty suit?” 2017).
Hopefully someday there will be a cure for cancer and we are on the right path when it comes to genetic testing. I believe this should be the only use for gene therapy when is comes to cancer and ailments. Because if gene therapy is used for curosity ,which some scientist are naturally, we might as well kiss organgic humans good bye and say hello to the new generation of carbon copies.
4)Wirth, T., Parker, N., & Ylä-Herttuala, S. (2013). History of gene therapy. Gene, 525(2), 162-169. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2013.03.137
5)Sinha, P., Kapoor, S., Kadam, S. S., Sahu, N. K., & Jaiswal, A. K. (2017). Potential therapeutic modalities in cancer gene therapy. Journal of Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences University, 6(2), 3-18.
6)Brenner, M. K., Gottschalk, S., Leen, A. M., & Vera, J. F. (2013). Is cancer gene therapy an empty suit? Lancet Oncology, 14(11), e447-56. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70173-6