How are DNA disorders treated?
In order to answer the question how are DNA disorders treated, we need to explain how these disorders occur in the first place. Almost every cell in our body can go through genetic changes that may result in a more or less severe genetic disorder.
If not treated, genetic disorders can affect our body systems and organs. They can even trigger illnesses. Unfortunately, for some of them, we still don't have a cure or an effective treatment.
The particular DNA disorder treatment is determined by the characteristics and severity of the disorder itself. For instance, a group of genetic disorders also known as inborn metabolism errors can be effectively treated with the appropriate dietary changes. Or, they can be fixed by replacing the missing enzyme.
It is possible to treat these disorders in such way because they’re triggered by the genetic mutations that are affecting the production of particular enzymes.
It is well-known that limiting or eliminating certain substances in your diet can prevent the potentially toxic elements from building up in your body. These toxic elements are usually eliminated or controlled by the affected enzyme. In case, when a particular enzyme become compromised (mutation) your body is left defenseless against these toxins.
That’s the reason you have to do something about it. You’re treating this genetic disorder with a dietary adjustment. If that’s not enough, you may be required to deal with the enzyme shortage with the enzyme replacement therapy.
When it comes to other genetic disorders, a particular treatment has to take into consideration the specific symptoms and signs that are common to these disorders. For a treatment to be effective, it is essential to come up with an approach that is the most suitable for specific individual health situation and needs. Here's another useful example.
Let's examine a genetic disorder that triggers a serious heart defect. We all know that you don't have much of a choice when it comes to these defects. You will have to go through a surgical procedure or in the worst case scenario - you have to get a new heart (transplantation). Also, genetic disorders that are associated with the defective blood cell formation have to treated with the help of bone marrow transplantation. These transplantations have the same goal.
The body has to function normally with the help of new organs and tissues. Of course, the catch is to avoid these transplantation procedures as the last resort. Gene therapies can be the key to treating these disorders. If applied on time, you can avoid a great deal of pain and additional severe complications that may occur in the future.
As you might have guessed the most serious and important DNA disorders are associated with the various forms of cancer. Now, we know that the mutations of the BRCA genes type 1 and 2 are responsible for the most common types of breast cancer. For the time being, we can rely on more frequent cancer screenings.
Or, the preventive surgery (prophylactic) measure that is supposed to eliminate the affected tissue, which can spread cancer. The ultimate goal of the gene therapy is to decrease or eliminate the possibility of being affected by the breast cancer in the first place.
The DNA disorders represent quite a challenge for the gene therapists and scientists. Some DNA disorders have the potential to threaten the life itself.
For instance, a particular genetic disorder may lead to a miscarriage or affect embryos and fetuses in a negative way. In this field, genetic therapy is focused mainly on the timely preventive measures. The health professionals can only offer supportive care, breathing assistance or pain reliefs.
The future of DNA disorder treatments
We are making significant breakthroughs in the gene-related science and therapy on a daily basis. However, the gene therapy can successfully fix very few disorders. What's required is for us to scratch the surface and deal directly with the harmful genetic mutation at the cellular level.
Right now, we are still in the experimental phase where we're trying to change our broken or missing genes in order to treat a disorder or prevent a disease from happening at all. We have to be optimistic when it comes to the successful treatment of DNA disorders with the help of gene therapy.
The generations of scientists have dreamed of the world where mankind controls the genes and therefore our very future. We are convinced that all the time and resources invested in the DNA disorder treatments will pay themselves off in the long run.
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