An alternative treatment for mesothelioma, gene therapy is becoming more common in fighting asbestos-caused cancer. Gene therapy is an experimental treatment with the goal of correcting problems caused by a defective gene. It does this by using genetic techniques to replace the defective gene with a copy that functions properly.
When a gene is defective, it can produce proteins that are also defective, which can result in the development of a disease. Gene therapy genetically alters a virus so that it is carrying a normal copy of a gene. The virus will enter target cells and cause those cells to produce normal proteins.
While gene therapy was not originally meant to treat mesothelioma — it was intended to treat genetic diseases such as hemophilia — new research has shown that it may be effective for treating certain types of cancer. In gene therapy for mesothelioma, the therapy uses genetic material to target cancer cells and make them vulnerable to drugs used in chemotherapy.
When a genetically altered virus is introduced, that virus will infect only tumor cells and will use a protein to convert a non-toxic drug into a drug that will kill those tumor cells. Gene therapy has shown some success in clinical trials. There may be side effects to this kind of treatment, including symptoms of infection, but the potential benefits may be greater than these risks for some patients.
For more information regarding gene therapy and other alternative treatment options, contact an experienced Bay Area lawyer at Kaiser Gornick LLP. Schedule an initial consultation and speak with an attorney at our office in San Francisco, California.