WHAT IS Bacterial gene therapy, or bactofection, isBACTERIAL the technique of using bacteria for directGENE gene transfer into the targetTHERAPY? organism, organ, or tissue.
HOW DOES Bacteria is used as a vector or vehicle toBACTERIAL transport the information to a cell.GENE Modified bacteria that contains plasmidsTHERAPY are applied to the target gene. When theWORK? vector is in the cytoplasm they are destructed or they undergo lysis and when they do so, the released plasmid gets in to the nucleus and the transgene is expressed by the transcription and translation machinery.
WHAT KIND Different strains of bacteria can be used asOF BACTERIA vectors. They are usually organized byARE USED? where they reside in the host. Some localize in the cytoplasm, the vacuoles, or in extracellular space. Most strains are modified to reduce pathogenic (ability to cause disease) potential or for better penetration in to the cellular membrane. Many potential strains still have yet to be studied as to their importance in gene therapy.
WHAT IS In experimental and clinicalBACTERIAL studies, bactofection has proven to be aGENE useful tool in the therapy of several tumors in mice. Melanoma, colon and lungTHERAPY carcinoma are all examples. It showedUSED TO prolonged survival and inhibited tumorTREAT? growth. E. coli is capable of treating cells for cystic fibrosis. Many of these strains have promising results for treatment but have not been clinically tested yet, which scientists hope to change in the future. Bactofection can also be used for DNA vaccination against numerous microbial agents including viruses, parasitical protozoa, fungi and even other bacteria.
POSITIVES OF Bacterial gene therapy has a very simplisticBACTERIAL application as compared to other methods.GENE It is easy to produce bacterial vectors asTHERAPY compared to other methods and bacterial vectors do deliver more DNA as per others. Bacterial gene therapy still costs less than viral gene therapy, but gene therapy is still a very costly technique.
NEGATIVES The main issue with bacterial gene therapyOF BACTERIAL is the possibility of unwanted side effectsGENE with the bacteria. The immune system mayTHERAPY cause clearance of the bacteria or autoimmune reactions. Bacteria may gain virulence factors back and could cause serious infections. Bacteria are genetically modified to reduce this possibility. Gene therapy is also very expensive and not everyone can afford it unless insurance companies will pay, and gene therapy is still in an experimental phase.
THE FUTURE The future is very promising for bacterialFOR gene therapy. Though research for thisBACTERIAL technique is rare, the potential for curesGENE and help for diseases and high and cannotTHERAPY go ignored. In the future, scientists can examine a larger view of strains to use and other diseases that they can possibly treat. Bacteria’s selectivity in gene transfer can also be improved in the future by testing, such as organ-specific activity.