Viruses there are already trials with some types

Viruses are very useful because they
work by attacking the host cell and inserting their genetic material into that
cell as part of a replication cycle. The virus uses the human body’s cells as its
own to reproduce itself. Once the cell has produced many copies of the virus it
can then explode and let the virus infect other cells within the human body.
There are viruses that insert their own genetic material into that of the host’s
genome. That means that that cell is now going to produce those genes of the
virus for the cell’s entire life. The trait of a virus to insert its own genetic
material into the cell’s genome is the type of technology that scientists have
been trying to harness as gene therapy. As with all good scientific ideas it is
not as simple as it looks. The problems associated with gene therapy will take
time to solve but there are already trials with some types of viruses 1.

The goal of gene therapy is to insert
genetic material into the host’s genome to make a protein that was not being
made before. The new gene that is being introduce can fix the cell and allow it
to function again by producing that protein. There are many problems associated
with using viruses as vectors that need to be over come until the virus can be
used in public trials. For instance, the viruses are modified so they cannot cause
disease in humans. Another problem of some types of retro viruses is that they
integrate their own genetic material into a separate chromosome. There are
other viruses such as adenovirus that introduce their DNA into the nuclease of
the cell but not into the chromosome. These problems are just some of the many
that scientists must over come before gene therapy will work in fighting
diseases. One of the biggest problems is how the new genes are used by the
human body 2.

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The genes that are newly expressed in
the cell can lead to many problems. Viruses infect usually more than one type
of cell. That can lead to healthy cells being infected along with unhealthy
cells. A healthy cell could be mutated by the virus changing the DNA structure
if the DNA is placed in the cell incorrectly. A virus that is suppose to stop
cancer is now causing cancer by making harmful mutations. The chance of the DNA
being past on to the reproductive cells of the body can cause the patient to
pass on those inserted genes into their children. The virus must also know not
to infect the reproductive cells. The problem with over expression can cause
the gene to be over produced leading to the immune system attacking the human
bodies cells. The further research of what types of viruses could be the one
that is just right for delivering the gene to the cells that need it 1.

The progress within the field of gene
therapy is very promising. The viruses that have advanced to clinical trials
that are considered safe for gene therapy treatments are adenovirus,
adeno-associated virus, retrovirus, and herpesvirus. The Viral vectors that
have been selected for further research are baculovirus, lentivirus, influenza
viruses, human papilloma virus, and hepatitis B are considered to be successful
gene delivery vectors. These are all versus that could be the right one to deliver
the gene of interest to the right cell of interest. The goals are for the virus
to deliver that gene of interest intact and to be expressed stable without any
harmful taxological or immunoexpressed response. With further research there is
a hope that the right virus will be the one right for the job 3.