Gene therapy is a technique through
which genes are added or replaced to treat or prevent disease.
Our genes, which hold the code for all of our body's functions, are
made of DNA. Damage to DNA, such as a mutation, is an underlying cause of the
genetic defects that lead to cancers, blood disorders, and other conditions.
Gene therapy delivers DNA into a patient’s cells to replace faulty or missing
genes – or add new genes – in an attempt to cure cancer or make changes so the
body is better able to fight off disease.
Scientists are investigating a number of different ways to do this:
How does gene therapy deliver new genes into cells?
With gene therapy, the DNA for the new or corrected gene or genes is
carried into a patient’s cells by a delivery vehicle called a vector, typically
a specially engineered virus. The vector then inserts the gene(s) into the
For patients, the process for delivering genes to cells is fairly simple. Check out this image of the gene therapy process:
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