Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease. In the future, this technique may allow doctors to treat a disorder by inserting a gene into patients cells instead of using drugs or surgery. A gene that is inserted directly into a cell usually does not function. Instead, a carrier called a vector is genetically engineered to deliver the gene. Certain viruses are often used as vectors because they can deliver the new gene by infecting the cell. A carrier called a vector must be used to deliver the therapeutic gene to the patients target cells. Target cells such as the patients liver or lung cells are infected with the vector.
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