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Explain the Difference Between Somatic Cell and Germ-Line Gene Therapy

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Explain the Difference Between Somatic Cell and Germ-Line Gene Therapy

Somatic cell gene therapy and germline gene therapy are two treatments that use genetically altered cells to treat diseases. They differ in certain ways, as well as in terms of ethical considerations that must be taken when employing them.

Somatic cell therapy is a technique in which genes are implanted into cells that do not produce eggs or sperm, such as bone marrow cells or other blood stem cells. These cells are taken away from the patient and altered using special chemicals or DNA editing techniques to correct mutations in genes responsible for disease; then they are returned back to the patient to grow and produce proper gene function.

Gene therapy has been employed to treat diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and adenosine deaminase (ADA), which are caused by defective genes. Germ-line gene therapies involve altering the genetic material of a fetus during its earliest stages of development; this could affect all cells within that fetus and possibly pass along heritable changes to its offspring.

One major concern is that if altered genes don’t integrate properly into their correct parts of the genome, they could actually cause disease rather than prevent it. Furthermore, to ensure correct activation and production of a functioning protein, it must not interfere with other normal genes and suppress immune response to it as an invader.

Another issue is that it may not always be possible to eliminate or change an abnormal gene without also altering other normal genes. Thus, it can be challenging to tell whether a genetic alteration will be beneficial or detrimental.

Scientists often try to replace an affected gene with a healthy version. Doing this allows the cell to produce the correct protein and treats the disease effectively.

In the case of ADA and PNP deficiencies, doctors could likely attempt to correct their genetic defects through somatic cell gene therapy, which involves taking bone marrow cells from an affected patient and replacing them with cloned copies of normal gene coding for these enzymes. After being returned to the patient, these cells could grow and produce enough enzymes to degrade toxic chemicals in the body that cause the disorder.

Furthermore, to be effective, the treatment must be tailored specifically to each individual with a genetic disorder. Furthermore, it must also be safe according to current scientific evidence.

Many scientists are wary of somatic cell gene therapy, fearing it is more likely to fail than germ-line gene therapy and could cause irreparable harm to a person’s future offspring. Nonetheless, some clinical trials have been conducted with this technology although its principles remain uncertain.

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