Gene therapy: a new safer technique

Europe - Researchers from the Flanders Institute of Biotechnology, in several European projects on gene therapy, have developed a new method allowing non-viral introduction of genes into living cells.

The fact of introducing genes into cells using viruses to treat a disease, causes many side effects such as cancers, including leukemia and immune reactions. This new technique does not use the virus could, according to researchers, simplify how gene therapy is practiced, to improve its level of security and reduce its cost.

Gene therapy is used to treat hereditary diseases known: the patient gene is then replaced by a healthy gene. This type of therapy involves introducing therapeutic genes into the right cells, these genes remain active in the body and that side effects are minimized.

So far, the virus is most often used as vectors to transport therapeutic genes within target cells. But the virus, living organism, may cause serious side effects. In addition, regulatory and technical problems have made the development of these viruses difficult.

This new technology uses transposon, DNA sequence capable of sticking and to cut another DNA to transport therapeutic genes to cells. The researchers describe this method as safe and effective, and must now develop.

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