Therapy for Cancer
For patients who
have cancer and are looking for alternatives to surgery, or treatments that can be used in addition to surgery,
gene therapy can be a good option for some. Gene therapy is used for the treatment of different diseases in the
body, including cancer, and involves replacing defective genes with normal genes. These new genes are then
transferred into the cells via proteins or viruses. Genes are well-known as the basic units of heredity and are
made from DNA. Any treatment that is designed to modify or change a gene’s function or structure is considered
gene therapy. Because cancer is considered a disease of various genetic changes, gene therapy is very promising
and has a lot of potential for both cancer treatment and prevention.
therapy is still relatively new and is still being studied, and new information is being discovered about gene
therapy all the time. Because gene therapy research is still in the early stages, the information that we have
regarding this type of therapy is limited, and it is very important to talk to your doctor and find out if gene
therapy is a viable option for you. Some gene therapy test results have shown promise when used in a small study
against a certain type of leukemia, but it will likely be years before this form of gene therapy will be used as
a standard treatment for cancer.
Preparation for Gene
Therapy: Because gene therapy is not yet a
standard procedure, the only way to receive it is likely as part of a study. Before participating in any gene
therapy study, make sure that you consult with your doctor about the possibility and then carefully follow your
doctor’s instructions regarding preparation for gene therapy procedures.
Gene Therapy Procedure:
Because gene therapy is
still being studied, there is little published information regarding how the procedure actually works or how it
is administered. Eventually, if the current testing period goes well, gene therapy may become a standard
treatment for various types of cancer. For now, little is known about gene therapy procedures, but you can
consult with your doctor if you would like to have more information regarding this exciting new cancer treatment
Types or Techniques Used:
The techniques that will
be used for gene therapy are not yet finalized, but in clinical trials, patients were treated with genetically
engineered T cells (white blood cells). The patients’ own T cells were then removed and were modified through
the use of a simple virus that was not harmful and gave the cells new genes so that they could target B cells
within the body. After they were modified, the T cells were then injected back into the patients’ bodies, where
they started to kill B cells and CLL tumor cells. In the study group, each genetically modified T cell killed
thousands of tumor cells on average, leading to the destruction of no less than 2 pounds of tumor in every
single test patient. These incredible results surprised the doctors who were conducting the tests and it is
likely that the techniques used in the study will eventually be used to treat cancer patients and that some form
of gene therapy will likely become a standard treatment for cancer in the future.
Because the study of
gene therapy is still so new, it is yet unknown what the recovery time will be for this treatment in the
future. If you are interested in participating in a gene therapy study, be sure to talk with your doctor
about the recovery time you should expect after each treatment.
Gene Therapy Side Effects:
If you are participating
in a gene therapy study or are considering doing so, talk to your doctor regarding some of the possible side
effects and risks before you commit. It is important that you decide for yourself if participating in a gene
therapy study will be worth the risks.