M was explaining what she does to me the other day. Most of the times I don't even ask her since I have no idea even when she explains it to me. But this time, it was pretty interesting. M is involved in gene therapy for leukemia/cancer patients. She splices these genes together that targets cancer cells. Then she takes T-cells from the patient, insert those genes that turn these T-Cells into special cancer killing cells and then send them back to the patient to fight the disease.
This is all very good, but, M says, that is only the first generation. The second generation involves making the new soldier cells dependent upon certain enzyme to survive. So the patient must get daily injections of enzyme in addition to the T-Cells. This way, once you are done with the therapy, you stop injecting the enzyme and T-Cells dies off. This kind of reminds me of super soldiers that relies on some drugs to do their work, and when the masters are done with them, they just withhold the drugs and they die off. tsk tsk..
Anyway, so M says, the third generation which they are working on now will splice a "suicide" gene into the T-Cell. So after the therapy is over, they send a chemical signal through the body and boom, the T-Cell self destructs. Simple and painless.
Now I ask you, are we very far from cloning kamikaze supersoldiers that will do our bidding? I think not.....