Monday, October 08, 2007

Gene therapy - an overview

Gene therapies are where it's at and the near future looks quite exciting in how it will be applied. Here are some quotes I read from Access Excellence website:

Each of us carries about half a dozen defective genes. We remain blissfully unaware of this fact unless we, or one of our close relatives, are amongst the many millions who suffer from a genetic disease. About one in ten people has, or will develop at some later stage, an inherited genetic disorder, and approximately 2,800 specific conditions are known to be caused by defects (mutations) in just one of the patient's genes.

Yeah, I hate faulty genes, that's for sure. Faulty genes have ruined my life - giving me fairly good health except for a crappy respiratory system.

In the U.S. and Europe, there are exciting new programs to 'map' the entire human genome - all of our genes. This work will enable scientists and doctors to understand the genes that control all diseases to which the human race is prone, and hopefully develop new therapies to treat and predict diseases.

Ray Kurzweil talks a lot about this and how because of accelerating returns we will be mapping individual human genomes very soon.

Much attention has been focused on the so-called genetic metabolic diseases in which a defective gene causes an enzyme to be either absent or ineffective in catalyzing a particular metabolic reaction effectively. A potential approach to the treatment of genetic disorders in man is gene therapy. This is a technique whereby the absent or faulty gene is replaced by a working gene, so that the body can make the correct enzyme or protein and consequently eliminate the root cause of the disease.

More info here:

Image courtesy wikipedia


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