By injecting a therapeutic gene directly into the brain, researchers have treated a naturally occurring genetic disease in cats. This is the first genetic disease affecting the central nervous system to be successfully treated in an animal larger than mice and rats. If this approach can be successfully applied to humans, say the researchers, it might one day treat an entire class of diseases called lysosomal storage disorders, which cause severe, sometimes fatal, disabilities in about one in 5,000 births. The members of the research team from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia and the U.S. Naval Academy published their findings in this months issue of the Annals of Neurology.
The animals involved in the study are born with a genetic disorder directly analogous to alpha-mannosidosis or AMD, an inherited disease in humans that causes severe mental retardation and skeletal abnormalities. Cats with AMD do not live more than six months. Children born with the worst form of the disease rarely survive into their teens. "Through gene therapy, we replace a broken gene responsible for alpha-mannosidase with the correct, functioning copy, to dramatic results," said John H. Wolfe, a professor of pathology and medical genetics at the Penn School of Veterinary Medicine and a neurology researcher at Childrens Hospital. "The treated cats were markedly improved compared to diseased cats, with better balance and muscle control and fewer tremors."
Although the disease itself is rare, AMD is one of about 50 lysosomal storage diseases, a class of diseases that accounts for a significant portion of the instances of mental retardation in children. Other examples include Tay-Sachs disease, Hunter disease and Pompe disease. In a lysosomal storage disease, cellular debris accumulates within storage areas of cells called lysosomes. In the case of AMD, children are born with a faulty version of the gene for an enzyme called lysosomal alpha-mannosidase or LAMAN.
Greg Lester | EurekAlert!
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy