Can medication change your DNA?

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Can medication change your DNA?
« on: 27/11/2011 18:30:03 »
john asked the Naked Scientists:
Can medication change your DNA?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 27/11/2011 18:30:03 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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Can medication change your DNA?
« Reply #1 on: 01/12/2011 00:52:03 »
NO...  BUT...

Typical medications like aspirin have little effect on DNA.  However, there are new medical treatments that might specifically target DNA.

For example one branch of medical research is to use viruses to deliver DNA to certain cells, and thus actually changing the DNA in those cells.

Another branch of medical research is to design drugs that regulate the expression of genes on DNA.  Not actually changing the DNA, but changing how the DNA is being read.

One treatment for prostate cancer is seeding the prostrate with radioactive seeds.  It isn't something that you would take orally, but rather a surgical procedure with the goal of damaging the DNA of cancer cells.

One of the more serious side-effects of medicine is mutagens or teratogens.  Normally one thinks of mutagens with respect to fetal development.  Thalidomide is an example of a serious mutagen.  However, it doesn't necessarily change the DNA, but rather affects the expression of genes during critical developmental steps.