Types of Therapeutics
Many types of therapy have been used in disease treatment, such as stem cell therapy, immunotherapy, virotherapy, etc. Each therapy has its unique characteristics and it is important to make trade-offs and choices based on specific diseases. Based on advances in technology, Gene & Cell therapy have been developed rapidly in recent years. They have a similar goal in mind, namely to treat disease by changing the genetic makeup. In addition, nanobiotechnology including metal nanoparticles and nanodevices has been applied to drug development with satisfactory results.
Gene therapy is understood as the ability of genetic improvement through the gene transfer of genetic material into the cell of a patient to cure the disease. For gene delivery, viruses are studied more often because of the advantages of invading cells and inserting their genetic material. A wide range of diseases such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, diabetes, hemophilia, and AIDS could be treated by gene therapy.
Fig.1 Three essential tools for human gene therapy (Cynthia, 2018)
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment by activating or suppressing the immune system. It has become of great interest to researchers in its promise to treat cancer. Cancer immunotherapy can stimulate the immune system to destroy tumors. It can help other cancer treatments work better such as chemotherapy. Immunotherapy causes fewer side effects than other treatments and the method can generate immune memory to help you stay cancer-free for a longer time.
Stem cell therapy belongs to regenerative medicine, which uses stem cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition. Stem cells have the ability to self-renewal and differentiate into specific cell types. The mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) have been used to treat autoimmune, inflammatory, neurological, orthopedic conditions, and traumatic injuries. Stem cell therapy has great potential in tissue regeneration and repair but many obstacles must still be overcome in the future.
Fig.2 Stem cell therapy (Sun, 2014)
Virotherapy is a virus-based method that uses a virus to find and destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells. Types of virotherapy include viral gene therapy, viral immunotherapy, and oncolytic virotherapy. Among them, oncolytic virotherapy has been widely devolved in cancer treatment, including but not limited to the Adenovirus, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Vaccinia Virus (VV), and Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VDS), etc. Those viruses have been engineered or selected to propagate in and selectively kill cancer cells.
Nanobiotechnology is a new field of science that nanotechnology is developed and applied to study biological phenomena. Metal nanoparticles have been served as probes, sensors, or vehicles for biomolecule delivery in cellular systems. Currently, the integration of nanomaterials with biology has led to the development of drug-delivery vehicles, analytical tools, therapy, contrast agents, and diagnostic devices.
The small molecule is the major component of an ever-expanding therapeutic toolbox. It can be used to treat a variety of diseases and conditions. Traditionally, the treatment of human disease has been dominated by small-molecule drugs. With the advances in biotechnology, biologics has expanded to include a wide range of products, such as therapeutic proteins, nucleic acid, carbohydrates, and lipids. The main difference between these two therapeutic modalities is their size and sources.
Dunbar, C., High, K., Joung, J., Kohn, D., Ozawa, K. and Sadelain, M., 2018. Gene therapy comes of age. Science, 359(6372).
Sun, Q., Zhang, Z. and Sun, Z., 2014. The potential and challenges of using stem cells for cardiovascular repair and regeneration. Genes & Diseases, 1(1), pp.113-119.