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Objectives of this lecture

By the end of this course you will


be able to:
1. Define the term Gene Therapy
2. Use the correct terminology for gene
transfer
3. Realize the significance of gene
therapy research

What is gene therapy?

What is gene therapy?


Introduction of new genetic material
into a cell for therapeutic purposes
Genetic Materials:
DNA
RNA

What is Gene Therapy ?


Gene therapy is a technique for correcting
defective genes responsible for disease
development.
Researchers may use one of several approaches
for correcting faulty genes:

A normal gene may be inserted into a nonspecific location


within the genome to replace a nonfunctional gene. This
approach is most common.
An abnormal gene could be swapped for a normal gene
through homologous recombination.

What is Gene Therapy ?


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The abnormal gene could be


repaired through selective reverse
mutation, which returns the gene to
its normal function.
The regulation (the degree to which
a gene is turned on or of) of a
particular gene could be altered

DNA

RNA

ATCG

AUCG

More stable in nucleases

Less stable in nucleases

Less stable in UV light

More stable in UV light

What are some of the hallmarks of


successful gene delivery?
TARGETING the right cells.
How can one ensure that the gene gets into the correct cells?
ACTIVATING the gene.
For gene delivery to be successful, the protein that is
produced must function properly.
INTEGRATING the gene in the cells.
Gene should integrate into, or become part of the host cell's
genetic material, or that the gene finds another way to survive
in the nucleus without being trashed.
AVOIDING harmful side efects.
If the body develops immunity against a specific gene delivery
vehicle, future rounds of the therapy will be ineffective

Disease-Causing Proteins

Problems:
Defect in protein expression
Expression of harmful proteins

Example:
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
Cancer

Solutions:
Introduce a correct version of the gene
Inhibit or block the harmful proteins

Advantages of gene
therapy

Specificity
Can be either temporary or
permanent
Localization
Low immunogenicity

Gene Therapy

Germ-Line Gene Therapy:


Introduction of genes into germ cells
(sperm and ovum)

Somatic Gene Therapy:


Introduction of genes into somatic cells

Germ-Line Gene Therapy

Hypothetically, germ-line therapy


prevents transfer of defective genes to
subsequent generation

Due to ethical and safety reasons, it is not


presently accepted for human application

However, it is used for the transgenic


laboratory animals production

Advantage

Disadvantage

Specificity

Time and labor consuming

High transfection efficiency

Invasive
Contamination
Not every cell type is growable

Ex vivo gene therapy

Most widely used in clinical trials


Some attempts in practice

Advantage

Disadvantage

Low cost

None
specificity

None invasive

Low
transfection
efficiency

Less

In vivo gene therapy

Some organs are less suited for ex


vivo e.g. (brain, heart and lungs)
More practical approach

Gene Therapy
Considerations

What gene will be delivered (or targeted)?


What method will be used?

Elements for gene


transfer

Genetic material either for gene expression


or downregulation
Vector to carry the genetic material inside
the cells

Expression Vector
(Plasmid)

Viral Vector

Non-Viral Vector

Gene Transfer

Transformation: introduction of genetic materials


into bacteria

Transfection: introduction of genetic materials into


eukaryotic cells (e.g. fungi, plant, or animal cells)

Transduction: introduction of genetic materials


using viruses

Lipofection: introduction of genetic materials using


liposomes

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