There is a new wave sweeping the medical industry.
It is known as biotechnology. This is the technology
that is in widespread use to detect and
treat human diseases.
Diagnosis of Genetic Diseases
Genetic diseases result from a gene defect that
is inherited from predecessors (e.g. mother or father).
This defect could simply be a gene that is missing or
a duplicate gene for that matter. Either way, if the
conditions are favorable the result could be disastrous.
The result could simply be a gene that will be passed
down to descendants or the result could very well be a
lethal disease. Some of the more commonly known genetic
diseases are Alzheimer's Disease, hemophilia, and sickle
cell anemia. These are all to the point where they can
now be identified earlier through the use of gene therapy.
Gene therapy allows for rapid and reliable
diagnosis of genetic diseases, as well as detection
and prediction of genetic disorders.
Alzheimer's Disease is identified when millions
of brain cells have died leaving large holes in the
brain itself. This disease can be the result of a
stroke as well as genetic. This disease however seems
to differ depending on how it was contracted (that is
genetically or consequently). If it was contracted
genetically, in many cases the normal symptoms are not
present. The normal symptoms being confusion as well
as memory loss. On the other hand, if Alzheimer's
arose as a result of a stroke, rarely does the patient
escape the above-mentioned symptoms. It is
complications like these that made genetic identification
Hemophilia is a genetic disorder and
responsible for preventing one's blood
from clotting. Clotting is what one's body does to stop
bleeding. A common result of clotting is a scab.
In hemophilia patients, if they get a cut etc.
clotting will not happen and as a result he/she
will bleed for a longer period of time.
The last above-mentioned genetic disease
is sickle cell anemia. Red blood cells are normally
round. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells
take on a sickle shape. This makes the blood thicker
and affects the red blood cell's ability to carry
oxygen to the body's tissues. The result is a disease
that affects many systems in the body. The following
are the common symptoms: Pain, ranging from mild to
severe, in the chest, joints, back, or abdomen;
Swollen hands and feet; Repeated infections,
particularly pneumonia or meningitis; Kidney
failure; Gallstones (at an early age); Strokes (at
an early age).
Treatment of Genetic Diseases
All of the above-mentioned genetic
diseases can be treated by gene therapy.
Gene therapy entails detecting a genetic
defect associated with a disease and correcting
that defect by administering the correct DNA
sequence to the defective cells. This technology
is aimed at the source of the problem and then
reacts accordingly. There are different methods
of gene therapy. Originally, in gene therapy, a
normal copy of the defective gene was virtually
used to replace the defective one. The normal gene
would take over and then react the way the defective
gene was originally designed to react. Since then,
new methods of gene therapy have been developed.
One such method involves a gene transfer to code
for a specific protein that might rectify the
problem internally; this would happen by increasing
the production of corrective proteins. Another
method includes injecting "bad" genes into the
undesired cells. These genes would then destroy
the targeted cells.
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