Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Sickle cell disease corrected in human models using stem cell-based gene therapy


In a study to be published in the January 2006 issue of Nature Biotechnology, researchers led by a team of scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have devised a novel strategy that uses stem cell-based gene therapy and RNA interference to genetically reverse sickle cell disease (SCD) in human cells. This research is the first to demonstrate a way to genetically correct this debilitating blood disease using RNA interference technology.

To prevent the production of the abnormal hemoglobin that causes sickle cell disease, a viral vector was introduced in cell cultures of patients who have the disease. The vector carried a therapeutic globin gene harboring an embedded small interfering RNA precursor designed to suppress abnormal hemoglobin formation. Tested in adult stem cells from SCD patients, researchers found that the newly formed red blood cells made normal hemoglobin and suppressed production of the sickle shaped hemoglobin typical of the disease.

"Sickle cell disease can only be cured by transplanting healthy blood-forming stem cells from another individual, but this option is not available to most patients due to the difficulty in finding a compatible donor," explained Michel Sadelain, MD, PhD, of the Immunology Program at MSKCC and the study’s senior author. "By using gene transfer, there is always a donor match because the patient’s own stem cells are used to treat the disease."

Sickle cell disease is a genetic condition that causes an abnormal type of hemoglobin to be made in red blood cells. The aggregation of hemoglobin S inside red cells interferes with the body’s blood cells’ ability to flow through small blood vessels, depriving tissues of adequate oxygen supply. This can cause pain, anemia, infections, organ damage, and stroke. Approximately 80,000 people in the United States have this inherited condition, which is primarily found in people of African, Mediterranean, Indian, or Middle Eastern origin. There is no known cure other than stem cell transplantation.

To treat SCD, Sloan-Kettering scientists devised a novel engineering strategy combining RNA interference with globin gene transfer by creating a therapeutic transgene, consisting of the gamma-globin gene and small interfering RNA specific for beta S-globin, the globin mutant chain that causes sickle cell disease.

"An innovative and sophisticated approach was needed to genetically engineer hematopoietic stem cells using a practical and clinically applicable process. The transferred gene must not disrupt the cells’ normal functions," explained Isabelle Riviere, PhD, Co-Director of the Gene Transfer and Somatic Cell Engineering Facility and a study co-author.

The new gene had two functions -- produce normal hemoglobin and suppress the generation of sickle shaped hemoglobin S. The therapeutic gene was engineered into a lentiviral vector and introduced into hematopoietic stem cells. After the cells received the treatment, they made normal hemoglobin.

"This proved our hypothesis that you can simultaneously add one function and delete another in the same cell and obtain synergistic genetic modifications within a single cell," said Selda Samakoglu, PhD, a member of Dr. Sadelain’s laboratory and the study’s first author. "In this case, we used the technique to correct sickle cell disease, but it should be broadly applicable to use therapeutically in stem cells or malignant cells."

Joanne Nicholas | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>