Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Putting genes in a pill

15.05.2003


Finding new ways to deliver gene therapy without using viruses as carriers is the aim of research by chemist Michael Nantz at UC Davis.



Nantz’s lab engineers lipids, oily molecules that can form a protective complex around DNA, to do the same job as a virus. The lipids protect the DNA and help it get into the target cell. The approach could eventually make gene therapy treatments that are stable enough to take as a pill.

Gene therapy holds the promise of curing diseases such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis or Parkinson’s disease by replacing damaged or missing genes. To do that, a new piece of DNA has to be carried into cells in the right part of the body.


Most approaches have used some kind of genetically modified virus to carry the DNA into the cell. But safety issues have been raised about that approach following the 1999 death of a patient at the University of Pennsylvania and cases of leukemia in two French children being treated for "Bubble baby syndrome."

When the lipid/DNA globule is taken up by a cell, it’s moved to an acid-filled compartment called the endosome. A key step, Nantz said, is to engineer lipids that can get the DNA out of the endosome and into the cell nucleus where most of the genetic material resides.

"What we’re doing is reinventing a virus through chemistry," he said.

In 1998, Nantz helped found a biotech company, Genteric Inc., to develop oral delivery systems for gene therapy. Because cells in the gut turn over quickly, the effect of the gene therapy drops over time. So the treatments can act more like a conventional medicine than a permanent genetic fix.

Andy Fell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdavis.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>