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WHY IS SCID A MAJOR PROBLEM? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > Biology > WHY IS SCID A MAJOR PROBLEM?

WHY IS SCID A MAJOR PROBLEM?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1800 | Submitted: 12-May-2009
Spelling accuracy: N/A | Number of pages: | Filetype: Word .doc

Description

This report is intended for A-level Biology students who are interested in the work of gene therapy and their way of curing detrimental diseases.

Description of the problem
SCID-Severe combined Immunodeficiency, a genetic disorder in which the immune system fails to develop. The defining characteristic for SCID is always a severe defect in T-cell production and function, with defects in B-lymphocytes. Caused by defects in any of several possible genes, SCID makes those affected highly susceptible to life-threatening infections by viruses, bacteria and fungi. [1]

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Description of the problem
SCID-Severe combined Immunodeficiency, a genetic disorder in which the immune system fails to develop. The defining characteristic for SCID is always a severe defect in T-cell production and function, with defects in B-lymphocytes. Caused by defects in any of several possible genes, SCID makes those affected highly susceptible to life-threatening infections by viruses, bacteria and fungi. [1]

T-Cells
There are 3 types of T-cells, T-helper cells, T-cytotoxic cells, T-supressor cells. T-helpers direct and assist all other immune cells in attacking foreign antigens. T-cytotoxic cells kill the unwanted antigens and T-reg cells are the off-switch to an attack. They serve to limit collateral damage. T-cells direct the rest of the immune system to respond to foreign invaders; therefore, problems in the T-lymphocyte system are generally profound, causing severe combined immunodeficiency syndromes (SCID) that declare themselves soon after birth. [2]

B-Cells
B-cells are directed to make antibodies against the disease by the help of T-Helper cells. These antibodies bind to the foreign antigen, neutralize it and allow phagocytes to digest and eliminate it completely [2]. Problems with B-cells cause antibody deficiencies which may cause recurrent infections as early as nine seven to nine months of age.

Explanation of methods/processes to address the issue
Bone Marrow transplants, although used various times on SCID patients, they don’t always correct the defects, therefore a more successful way of correcting the defect is gene therapy, which would involve replacing the mutated gene with the correct gene. The idea of gene therapy is to cure hereditary diseases. Effective gene therapy would just generally treat the cause rather than the symptoms of the disease. [4]
A type of gene therapy that has proven useful is using vectors. All viruses combine with their host cells and introduce their genetic material into them. The genetic material contains basic instructions of how to increase the number of the viruses, which in the case of gene therapy is very useful.
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