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Cancer / Oncology

The Role of Gene Therapy in Treating Cancer

By BS MediaTwitter Profile | Updated: Monday, 03 October 2022 16:40 UTC
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Man's Spiral DNA
Man's Spiral DNA Pixabay / Elias

The use of gene therapy to cure human illness has evolved fast in recent years. The many breakthroughs in cancer biology, molecular biology, immunology, molecular genetics, and virology have inevitably led to the development of cancer gene therapy. Cancer gene therapy strategies typically aim to work in tandem with other treatments, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes have been studied extensively in recent years, and gene therapy has provided the means to capitalize on this knowledge. In a nutshell, gene therapy is a promising approach to combating cancer and its manifestations. Follow this post to know more.


The absence of early detection and the high relapse rate after traditional therapies have made cancer the second leading cause of death worldwide, behind only cardiovascular illnesses. Chemotherapy slows the multiplication of cancer cells but also harms other rapidly dividing cells.

Therefore, it is crucial to create alternative, safer, and more successful treatment options like gene therapy by lentiviral vector companies to increase cancer patient’s survival rate and life expectancy drastically.

The goal of gene therapy is for the therapeutic gene to be transfected into the host cells and expressed, producing a favorable biological effect.

Gene Therapy: A Brief Overview

To treat or prevent disease, gene therapy modifies an individual's cellular DNA blueprints. Proteins that regulate cell growth, function, and division are encoded in genes responsible for practically every aspect of cellular life. Gene defects can cause the production of dysfunctional proteins. Important biological functions may be compromised when a gene is either lacking or hyperactive. Gene therapy aims to eliminate these issues from the ground up.

Gene therapy can restore normal protein production by inserting functional copies of replacement genes into cells where they are missing or dysfunctional. Another possible approach is to modify gene regulation to correct under or hyperactive genes. Finally, gene therapy can affect cells' function and/or survival by expressing totally foreign genes.

How It Treats Cancer

Gene Transfer

Gene transfer is a method wherein researchers insert a foreign gene into cancer cells or adjacent tissue. The inserted gene kills cancer cells or stops them from getting the nutrients they need by blocking blood flow to tumors from healthy cells and tissue. Gene silence, in which the implanted genes fail to switch on, is only one challenge this strategy brings scientists. Prostate, lung, and pancreatic cancers responded well to gene transfer procedures in animal trials.

Clinical experiments have examined a number of different strategies for transferring genes. Head and neck squamous cell cancer, liver squamous cell cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, and other squamous cell malignancies have all been studied in these trials.


One form of immunotherapy is CAR T-cell treatment, which improves cancer patients' T cells by harnessing their inherent anti-tumor properties. Collecting a patient's T-cell sample and combining them with viruses with multiple desired genes.

The viruses transfer these genes to the T cells' nuclei and eventually become part of the T cell's DNA. The genes direct the T cells to produce and display a specialized surface protein known as a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). The T cell's chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is programmed with a specific "address" that allows it to find and destroy the tumor cell.

After being put into a patient, the cells, which are now known as CAR T cells, seek out tumor cells and kill them.

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