Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene therapy reduces skin cancer to sunburn in mouse model

13.12.2004


Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have successfully tested the first gene therapy for skin cancer, using a mouse model for the disease xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP.

Their results, available online and to be published in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show promise for similar gene therapy to be pursued in children suffering from this rare disorder.

XP is a debilitating disease in which patients must avoid the sun and all other sources of ultraviolet (UV) light. Exposure to UV light increases the risk for all cancers, but exposed skin is most prone to the disease.With a 10,000-fold increase in cancer risk, many XP sufferers eventually succumb to tumors at an early age.



Mice with mutations in the gene Xpa suffer from XP and develop cancerous lesions on their skin within three weeks after UV light exposure. Dr. Errol Friedberg, professor and chair of pathology at UT Southwestern, in collaboration with Dr. Carlos F.M. Menck of the Institutes of Biomedical Sciences in Sao Paulo, Brazil injected the normal gene into mice suffering from XP. After treatment with the normal gene, the mice were free from disease.

"Gene therapy for XP has the potential to completely prevent cancer in a group of patients who otherwise may suffer no other ill effects from their genetic defect," Dr. Friedberg said.

When the body is exposed to UV light, the DNA in dividing cells can become damaged. Normally, the body enlists a group of proteins whose job it is to repair the sites of UV-induced damage. But in children with XP, mistakes in DNA caused by UV light cannot be fixed because of mutations in the genes for the repair proteins. DNA damage goes uncorrected, and as cells divide they accumulate numerous mutations. When these mutations occur in genes that normally suppress cancer, cells develop abnormally and cancer ensues.

A mutation in any one of seven human genes involved in DNA repair is sufficient to cause XP. One of these genes is XPA. Humans with mutations in XPA are one the largest groups of XP patients.

In their gene therapy study, Dr. Friedberg and colleagues injected the normal version of mouse Xpa into the mutant mice, using a disabled virus that infects multiple cells. They then exposed the mice to UV light for a few hours over several days. Five months after the last exposure – long after Xpa mutant mice would normally develop skin lesions – the treated mice merely had sunburn.

The skin cells surrounding the site of the injection in the treated Xpa mutant mice were nearly identical to those of normal animals, indicating that the DNA repair mechanism had been restored by the addition of the normal Xpa gene, Dr. Friedberg said.

Dr. Friedberg said he believes that with some technical refinement, this gene therapy technique may soon be applicable to all the mutations that cause XP in humans.

"XP is a disease that lends itself well to gene therapy, for a variety of reasons," Dr. Friedberg said. "Most importantly, skin cells are highly accessible for introducing foreign genes. Also, infection of the skin with a virus carrying the gene of interest, as we did with the mice, allows for many, many cells to receive the appropriate gene. Once some of the existing technical limitations are solved these studies can hopefully be extended to trials with human XP patients."

Other UT Southwestern contributors to this research are Maria Carolina N. Marchetto, visiting student and lead author, and Dr. Dennis Burns, professor of pathology. Dr. Allyson R. Muotri of the Salk Institute also contributed to the study.

Megha Satyanarayana | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>