Biotechnology in Medicine
Using genetic engineering techniques medicinally important valuable proteins or polypeptides that form the potential pharmaceutical products for treatment of various diseases have been developed on a commercial scale.
a. Insulin used in the treatment of diabetes.
b. Human growth hormone used for treating children with growth deficiencies.
c. Blood clotting factors are developed to treat haemophilia.
d. Tissue plasminogen activator is used to dissolve blood clots and prevent heart attack.
e. Development of vaccines against various diseases like Hepatitis B and rabies
Gene therapy refers to the replacement of defective gene by the direct transfer of functional genes into humans to treat genetic disease or disorder. The genetic makeup of the ‘patient’ cell is altered using recombinant DNA technology. It was first successfully implemented in 1990.
Somatic gene therapy is the replacement of defective gene in somatic cells.
Germ line gene therapy replacement of defective gene in germ cell (egg and sperm).
Gene therapy conducted till date has targeted only somatic (non-reproductive) cells. Correction of genetic defects in somatic cells may be beneficial to the patient but the corrected gene may not be carried to the next generation.