Defective genes can cause malfunctions in metabolic pathways, causing diseases that are deeply rooted in the genetic design of a human being. Gene therapy is done to replace these defective genes in order to stop or treat the disease. There are two major types of gene therapy: Germline Therapy and Somatic Cell Therapy. Germline therapy entails replacing defective genes in reproductive cells while somatic cell therapy replaces genes in somatic cells. While most forms of gene therapy are still in their clinical stages, there have been stories of encouraging outcomes. Several inherited immune deficiencies have been successfully treated with gene therapy. Here are some of the major benefits of gene therapy.
Reduce Newborn Deaths
Birth defects are one of the leading causes of newborn deaths in the United States. Research shows that as many as 1 in 5 newborns suffers from a birth defect. Another study by the Child Health USA shows that nearly 3 percent of American children are born with a genetic condition that needs one of the gene therapy options to cure the problem. In most cases, the genetic disorders and diseases in this population will take the life of the minor before they even receive the treatment. The advances in gene therapy can help to save the life of newborns by correcting issues caused by defective genes.
Reduce Disability Cases
Do you know that about 10 percent of Americans are affected by a rare condition or illness on any given day? Further research shows that about 33 million people have a disability that is directly associated with their genetic profile. Gene therapy can help to treat some of these abnormalities by finding the genes causing the disability and working to stop or treat them. The defective gene can also be replaced if possible to offer relief to the affected person.
One option of gene therapy entails replacing defective reproductive cells. Scientists believe that replacing defective reproductive, genetic disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease can be eliminated for good. It also allows doctors to eliminate and prevent diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and haemophilia. Gene therapy can also help in the treatment of infertility problems. The therapy can also be beneficial to people suffering from hearing and vision problems.
Further research also shows that gene therapy can help in relieving chronic, which would be quite beneficial to the futures of many people. Scientists also believe that the technologies behind gene therapy could help them find a possible cure for heart disease and other untreatable diseases, such as AIDS and cancer. While there is a high risk involved in treating these diseases many patients who do not have much to lose.
Grow Healthy Foods
The advantages of gene therapy not only apply to human beings only, but it also helps to improve other forms of life as well. The technologies created from gene therapy can help in growing crops that can adapt more effectively to the changing climatic conditions. This can be vital when it comes to growing healthier foods, increasing the shelf life of harvest and producing more items in the overall yields.
These are just some of the top benefits of gene therapy. It is important to note that gene therapy also has its own risks. Scientists believe that it can possibly change the genetic pool of the patient permanently. However, more research is being done to improve the therapy.