Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene therapy breakthrough offers hope to patients with inherited high cholesterol levels

14.05.2002


New research published in BMC Molecular Biology explains how a new technique for introducing genes into mammalian cells using the virus responsible for warts could be a major step forward in developing gene therapy treatments for people with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic disease that affects around 12 million people worldwide.



People with FH have a genetic defect that prevents their liver cells from absorbing chlolesterol in the form of low density lipoprotein (LDL). This leads to high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream increasing the risk of heart disease. It is estimated that about half of men and a third of women with FH suffer a heart attack by the age of 60.

FH occurs as a result of a single defective gene that codes for a LDL receptor in the liver. Many single gene defects like the one that causes FH are candidates for gene therapy, a medical treatment used to repair or replace faulty genes (this is because it is much easier to repair one gene that causes a disease than it is to tackle other genetic diseases that involves several faulty genes).


Since the first successful attempts at gene therapy in 1990 there has been an intense research effort to develop ways of curing genetic diseases. By 1996 over 3000 patients had been treated using gene therapy, but most of these cases were unsuccessful. There are major obstacles to overcome to increase the success of gene therapy trials. Firstly, ways of getting multiple copies of healthy genes into enough cells to reverse the underlying disease need to be established. Secondly, it is important that the expression of healthy genes is sustained and finally any virus used to repair or replace faulty genes must not be attacked by the immune system of the patient receiving gene therapy.

The research published in BMC Molecular Biology showed that the virus responsible for warts (bovine papilloma virus) could be used to restore the function of cells with defective LDL receptors. Furthermore, it showed that the cells continued to function normally throughout the 32 week observation period.

The next step in this exciting research is to test the ability of the virus to repair faulty genes in animals with defective LDL receptor genes to establish whether an animal`s immune system will react to the papilloma virus. The researchers remain optimistic that this technique will save lives given that preliminary studies have shown that the human form of the virus is unlikely to attacked by the immune system.

Gordon Fletcher | alphagalileo
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2199/3/5/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: 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

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | 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

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>