Gene therapy is an evolving field of science. It consists of replacing a faulty gene (that will produce a malformed protein or no protein at all) with a new, ‘fixed’ gene. This treatment only needs to be done once, after which the body naturally reproduces the ‘fixed’ cell (containing the ‘fixed’ gene) which will cure or greatly improve the circumstances of the genetic disorder. The faulty gene still remains within the body, so the disorder might not end up being completely cured, though the circumstances should still improve greatly. This treatment can also work with other medical cases.
There are currently two types of gene therapy: the most common is somatic gene therapy (relating to somatic cells; cells that are not reproductive and make…show more content… It is a treatment still being researched, and, though there are many successes, there are also failures. One of the main causes of the failures is that the viral ‘fixed’ DNA can be identified by the body as being foreign. The immune system will then react by destroying the ‘fixed’ cell, resulting in the treatment not succeeding. Science is trying to prevent this from happening by finding other methods, such as inserting artificial chromosomes. Scientists are also having trouble with the viruses targeting certain cells, the cells with the faulty gene. In 2003, in France, 4 boys with an immune system deficiency were treated with gene therapy. Two of the boys later developed leukemia because the viruses had passed the ‘fixed’ gene to cells that didn’t need it (DNA and Genetic Engineering; Robert Sedden). Researchers are still trying to understand how most of the human genomes work. Sometimes it is unclear what certain genes do, and if they are the ones that are faulty or not (DNA and Genetic Engineering; Robert Sedden). Science is also trying to fix genetically transmitted sight disorders, but it does not always work. Patients with LBA (Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis – a mutation in the cells of the retina causing blindness), who were injected with gene therapy in 2007, are losing their sight again (The Scientist; May 5