Genes are the basic DNA component and hold the instructions for making proteins and other building blocks necessary for cell function. Although asbestos is a huge factor in causing Mesothelioma, genetics play a role as well. Specifically, mesothelioma can develop when the instructions inside genes become incorrect or missing, causing the ingredients for healthy cells to be lacking.

Gene therapy is a new mesothelioma treatment that involves modifying a mesothelioma patient’s genes towards a therapeutic goal. Unlike traditional mesothelioma treatments, which deal with cancer by treating tumors that have already formed, gene therapy works by correcting the underlying problem causing the cancer in the first pace.

Mesothelioma Replacement Gene Therapy

Replacement gene therapy replaces damaged genes in cancerous cells with new, normal genes. The normal genes in replacement gene therapy attempt to deliver the proper instructions to cancer cells so that tumors stop growing. While replacement gene therapy is still in its infancy, this treatment is currently being studied in clinical trials.

Knockout Gene Therapy

Knockout gene therapy usually involves injecting a virus into the body near the site where the mesothelioma has developed. The virus infects the mesothelioma cells with a “suicide”? gene that makes the cancer cells sensitive to an antiviral drug. Normally, mesothelioma cells would not be harmed by this drug, but with the virus gene, the mesothelioma cells are killed by the drug. In essence, knockout gene therapy tricks the drug into thinking that the cancer is a viral infection so that the drug will kill the cancer cells. 

In knockout gene therapy, the molecule that delivers the gene to its desired location is called a vector. While viruses are usually used as vectors, other molecules may be used as well. The most common vectors used in knockout gene therapy are:

  • Retrovirus (viral vector)
  • Adenovirus (viral vector)
  • Adeno-associated virus (viral vector)
  • Herpes simplex viruses (viral vector)
  • Liposome (non-viral vector)
  • Naked DNA (non-viral vector)

Do you need gene therapy treatment for mesothelioma? You may be entitled to be compensated for your medical and other expenses. Contact us today.

Published November 17, 2011 by