Key Difference – Gene Therapy vs Stem Cell Therapy
Gene therapy and stem cell therapy are novel therapeutic techniques developed by researchers through advanced experiments. Gene therapy can be defined as a technique which introduces genes or genetic materials into patients to correct or replace abnormal or mutated genes that cause genetic diseases. Cell therapy can be defined as a technique which infuses or transplants stem cells into patients to treat diseases or repair tissues. The key difference between gene therapy and stem cell therapy is that in gene therapy, genetic material is injected to patients while, in stem cell therapy, whole cells are injected to patients to treat diseases.
What is Gene Therapy?
Gene therapy is an important technique which is used to introduce normal genes (healthy genes) to treat or prevent diseases. It is a method of correcting defective genes or missing genes as a solution to genetic disorders. In future, gene therapy techniques will enable treating patients suffering from genetic disorders without using drugs or surgeries. Researchers perform experiments to discover the possibilities of gene therapy technique in several approaches as follows.
- Replacement of mutated genes that cause diseases with a healthy gene
- Knocking out of mutated or improper genes
- Introduction of new genes to enhance immunity of the body against diseases
Although gene therapy technique is a theoretically a promising technique, it is still under experimental conditions since it has failed to prove 100% effectiveness and safety for use. However, it can be applied as a treatment for the diseases which cannot be cured by other methods such as inherited diseases, some cancers, several viral infections, etc.
Gene therapy is performed using a vector system to deliver the genes into the target organism. Vectors used in gene therapy are certain viruses, especially adenoviruses and retroviruses. Some types of viruses are promisingly used to introduce genes into human chromosomes to correct defective genes. However, scientists should overcome the practical challenges of gene therapy technique to use it as a treatment for diseases. If researchers are able to find the best ways to deliver genes accurately into target cells, gene therapy will be the best treatment for a lot of diseases.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cells are immature, undifferentiated cells that have the ability to mature into different tissues. They are the primitive cells from which all other kinds of cells are developed. They can self replicate and also specialize into any kind of cell. This ability to self replicate and self repair, stem cells provide the basis for tissue engineering approaches such as tissue regeneration and tissue repair. Stem cell therapy is a technique which uses stem cells to prevent or treat diseases. Bone marrow transplantation is a typical example for stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy is effectively used in spinal injuries, multiple sclerosis, lyme disease, cerebral palsy, autism, etc.
What is the difference between Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy?
Gene Therapy vs Stem Cell Therapy
|Gene therapy is a method used to treat diseases by introducing correct or healthy genes into patients using a vector.
|Stem cell therapy is a method used to treat diseases by introducing stem cells into the body of patients.
|Genes integrate with host genome and transcribe to produce necessary proteins or products.
|Stem cell divides and differentiates into tissues.
Summary – Gene Therapy vs Stem Cell Therapy
Gene therapy is a technique which compensates abnormal or mutated genes with correct genes. It is also used to introduce beneficial genes to produce and restore necessary functional proteins. Stem cell therapy is another technique which is used to prevent or treat diseases or conditions. Stem cells have the ability to self replicate and specialize into different cell tissues. Hence, stem cells are used as a therapeutic to treat diseases. In gene therapy, genes or genetic materials are introduced into target organisms while in the stem cell therapy, stem cells are transplanted into target tissues. This is the difference between gene therapy and stem cell therapy.
1.”What is gene therapy? – Genetics Home Reference.” U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2017
2.Mavroudi, Maria, Paul Zarogoulidis, Konstantinos Porpodis, Ioannis Kioumis, Sofia Lampaki, Lonny Yarmus, Raf Malecki, Konstantinos Zarogoulidis, and Marek Malecki. “Stem cells’ guided gene therapy of cancer: New frontier in personalized and targeted therapy.” Journal of cancer research & therapy. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2017
1. “AAV Gene Therapy” By George Church – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “The steps of regenerative medicine” By Rodolfa, K.T., Inducing pluripotency (September 30, 2008), StemBook, ed. The Stem Cell Research Community, StemBook, doi/10.3824/stembook.1.22.1, http://www.stembook.org. –(CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia