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gene therapy

— Medical

Photoswitch therapy restores vision to blind lab animals

By - December 9, 2014 3 Pictures
A new genetic therapy that helped blind mice and dogs respond to light stimulus could restore sight to people who suffer from diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (a gradual loss of vision from periphery inwards). The therapy uses chemicals known as photoswitches, which change shape when hit with light, to open the channels that activate retinal cells. Treated mice can distinguish between steady and flashing light, while dogs with late-stage retinal degeneration also regain some sensitivity to light. Read More
— Medical

Gene therapy converts heart cells into "biological pacemakers"

By - July 17, 2014 1 Picture
Pacemakers serve an invaluable purpose, by electrically stimulating a recipient's heart in order to keep it beating at a steady rate. The implantation of a pacemaker is a major surgical procedure, however, plus its presence in the body can lead to complications such as infections. Now, for the first time, scientists have instead injected genes into the defective hearts of pigs, converting unspecialized heart cells into "biological pacemakers." Read More
— Medical

Landmark decision? US Supreme Court rules human genes cannot be patented

By - June 14, 2013 1 Picture
In what is being ballyhooed as a landmark decision likely to set the course of DNA-based diagnostic and therapeutic medicine for the next several decades, the US Supreme Court unanimously decided on June 13 that human genes are not patentable. Rather than objects invented or discovered, human genes are henceforth to be treated as "naturally occurring phenomena," and hence fail the patentability test under 35 USC 101. As is usual in patent cases, however, the ruling contains delicate shades of meaning. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Scientists use gene therapy to cure dogs of type 1 diabetes

By - February 9, 2013 1 Picture
Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have claimed a first by successfully using a single session of gene therapy to cure dogs of type 1 diabetes. The work has shown that it is possible to cure the disease in large animals with a minimally-invasive procedure – potentially leading the way to further developments in studies for human treatment of the disease. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Tailored gene therapy approach could replace drug treatments for HIV patients

By - February 3, 2013 1 Picture
One of the biggest problems in treating HIV patients is the amount of daily individual medications it takes to keep the virus at bay. In a new study, scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have engineered a new approach to tailored gene therapy that they say makes key cells of the immune system resistant to attack from the HIV virus, which may eventually lead to the removal of life-long dependencies on drugs for patients living with HIV. Read More
— Science

New process "electroports" gene therapy agents into living cells

By - October 18, 2011 3 Pictures
One of the key processes in gene therapy involves taking cells from the patient, injecting a therapeutic genetic material into them, then reintroducing them to the patient’s body and letting them go to work. Unfortunately, getting that material into the cells can be tricky. While larger cells can actually be punctured with a fine needle, most human cells are too small for that approach to be possible. There are also methods of inserting random amounts of material into bulk quantities of cells, but these are inexact. Now, however, scientists at Ohio State University are reporting success with a process known as “nanochannel electroporation” (NEP), in which therapeutic biomolecules are electrically shot into cells. Read More
— Science

Genetically-engineered spider silk could be used in gene therapy

By - August 11, 2011 1 Picture
Spider silk is pretty amazing stuff. Pound for pound, it has a tensile strength close to that of steel while being one-fifth as dense, it’s tougher than Kevlar, and it can stretch to almost one-and-a-half times its length without breaking. As if that wasn’t enough, it now appears that a genetically engineered version of the substance could be used for delivering genes into human cells. Read More
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