GENES are the building blocks of life but like all things, they can sometimes go wrong, resulting in a range of conditions and diseases.
Repairing or replacing these genes with good ones, however, could solve or at the very least treat the problem, and this is what the emerging science of gene therapy is all about.
It was first suggested in the early-1970s that using good DNA (genes are short sections of DNA) to replace defective DNA could treat inherited diseases, and since then scientists have been trying to work out how to do it, both for inherited conditions and many others.
The British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (bsgct.org) says the first approved human gene therapy took place in 1990, on four-year-old Ashanti DeSilva who had ADA-SCID an inherited disease that prevents normal development of the immune system. The therapy made a huge difference, meaning the little girl no longer needed to be kept in isolation and could go to school.
When the human genome was mapped nearly 20 years ago, the notion that it could potentially unlock therapies capable of fixing genes responsible for some of the worlds most devastating diseases was an idea of the future, says gene therapy expert Professor Bobby Gaspar, speaking on behalf of Jeans for Genes Day, the annual campaign for Genetic Disorders UK (geneticdisordersuk.org).
We are at the forefront of a new era of treatment for genetic diseases using gene and cell therapies. Some of these are one-time, potentially curative investigational therapies that could provide life-changing benefits to patients and their families.
Gaspar says there are currently more than 10 cell and gene therapy products approved in the European Union, ranging from products that treat cancer to rare immune deficiencies. A number of these are approved in the UK and available on its National Health Service in specialised centres.
And with nearly 3,000 clinical gene therapy trials underway worldwide, the number of available treatments is expected to grow significantly over the next few years.
Here, Gaspar a professor of paediatrics and immunology at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and chief scientific officer at Orchard Therapeutics, a gene therapy company that seeks to permanently correct rare, often-fatal diseases outlines five of the ways gene therapy can cure, stop, or slow a disease...
A variety of efforts are underway to use gene therapy to treat cancer. Some types of gene therapy aim to boost the bodys immune cells to attack cancer cells, while others are designed to attack the cancer cells directly.
One way the body protects itself from cancer is through T-cells, a main component of the immune system. But some cancers are good at avoiding these protection mechanisms, says Gaspar.
Chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR T-cell therapy, is a new form of immunotherapy that uses specially altered T-cells to more specifically target cancer cells.
Some of the patients T-cells are collected from their blood, then genetically modified to produce special CAR proteins on the surface.
When these CAR T-cells are reinfused into the patient, the new receptors help the T-cells identify and attack cancer cells specifically and kill them.
There are more than 250 genetic mutations that can lead to a type of blindness called inherited retinal diseases, or IRD. People with a defect in the RPE65 gene start losing their vision in childhood.
As the disease progresses, patients experience gradual loss of peripheral and central vision, which can eventually lead to blindness.
Gene therapy for some IRD patients became available in 2017, delivering a normal copy of the RPE65 gene directly to the retinal cells at the back of the eye using a naturally-occurring virus as a delivery vehicle.
For children with the genetic disorder spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, a rare muscular dystrophy, motor nerve cells in the spinal cord are damaged, causing patients to lose muscle strength and the ability to walk, eat or even breathe, says Gaspar.
SMA is caused by a mutation in a gene called SMN which is critical to the function of the nerves that control muscle movement. Without this gene, those nerve cells cant properly function and eventually die, leading to debilitating and often fatal muscle weakness.
Researchers recently developed the first US-approved gene therapy to treat children less than two years of age with SMA.
The therapy is designed to target the cause of SMA by replacing the missing or nonworking gene with a new, working copy of a human SMN gene, helping motor neuron cells work properly.
Researchers believe targeted gene therapy and gene editing may have widespread application for a range of infectious diseases that arent amenable to standard clinical management, including HIV.
Although HIV isnt a hereditary disease, the virus does live and replicate in DNA, Gaspar explains.
Another early but encouraging approach uses a gene editing technology combined with a new long-acting, antiretroviral treatment to suppress HIV replication and eliminate HIV from cells and organs of infected animals.
Gene editing is an approach that precisely and efficiently modifies the DNA within a cell. In this approach, gene editing can knock out a receptor called CCR5 on immune cells used by HIV to enter and invade cells. Without CCR5, HIV may no longer invade and cause disease.
One approach being investigated for a number of rare, often-fatal diseases uses gene-modified blood stem cells with a goal of permanently correcting the underlying cause of disease.
Blood stem cells are taken from the patient, and corrected outside the body by introducing a working copy of the gene into the cells. The gene-corrected cells are then put back into the patient to potentially cure the disease.
Gene-modified blood stem cells have the capacity to self-renew and, once taken up in the bone marrow, can potentially provide a lifelong supply of corrected cells. Because of their ability to become many different types of cells in the body, this approach has the potential to provide a lasting treatment for many different severe and often life-limiting inherited disorders, many of which have no approved treatment options available, says Gaspar.
For instance, ADA-SCID, sometimes referred to as bubble baby syndrome, is a disease where babies lack almost all immune protection, leading to frequent and devastating infections. Left untreated, babies rarely live past two years of age. Standard treatment options are not always effective or can carry significant risks. In 2016, the European Medicines Agency approved Strimvelis, a blood stem cell gene therapy for the treatment of ADA-SCID. Strimvelis was the first approved ex vivo gene therapy product in Europe.
Jeans for Genes Day helped fund some of the earliest work using this type of gene therapy at Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2002, when Rhys Evans, a little boy with SCID, became one of the first children worldwide to be treated by gene therapy.
Jeans for Genes Day aims to raise money for children with life-altering genetic disorders by asking people to donate money for wearing jeans to work, school or wherever they like, on any day between September 16-20. Visit jeansforgenesday.org.
Read the original post:
- Solid Biosciences Stock Crashes Over Safety Concerns About Its Gene Therapy - Barron's - November 13th, 2019
- Solid's Duchenne gene therapy trial halted after patient suffers toxicity - STAT - November 13th, 2019
- Gene Therapy in Neurology: 2019 Overview & Forecast Report - Yahoo Finance - November 13th, 2019
- How Gene Therapy Is Evolving to Tackle Complex... - Labiotech.eu - November 13th, 2019
- Gene Therapy Payment Models Could Be One Focus For 'Cures II' - Pink Sheet - November 13th, 2019
- Lonza taps Cryoport to bolster cell and gene therapy delivery - BioPharma Dive - November 13th, 2019
- Pfizer's 'brainstorming' payment deals as gene therapies advance, exec tells Bloomberg - FiercePharma - November 13th, 2019
- Why This Startup Sent Wine to Space; Dog Gene Therapy 'Treat'ment - Cheddar - November 13th, 2019
- Next generation cell and gene therapies: fine tuning the promise - Business Weekly - November 13th, 2019
- Vertex invests in gene therapy manufacturing - BioPharma-Reporter.com - November 13th, 2019
- Scientists are using gene therapy to treat a heart disease in dogs. Could humans be next? - 10News - November 13th, 2019
- Penn Med study on CRISPR cancer therapy indicates technique is safe in humans - The Daily Pennsylvanian - November 13th, 2019
- Updated Alta Trial Results Support SB-525 Gene Therapy for Hemophilia A - Hemophilia News Today - November 13th, 2019
- Sangamo Announces Gene Therapy and Ex Vivo Gene-Edited Cell Therapy Data Presentations at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting - Business... - November 13th, 2019
- Modified Protein Enhances the Accuracy of CRISPR Gene Therapy - DocWire News - November 13th, 2019
- Triple-Gene Announces Completion of Enrollment and Dosing in Phase 1 Trial of INXN4001, First Multigenic Investigational Therapeutic Candidate for... - November 13th, 2019
- Reprogramming the Human Computer: Silicon Valley Meets Cell and Gene Therapy - BioBuzz - September 19th, 2019
- FDA approves 2nd gene therapy cancer drug from Durham's Precision Bio for clinical trial - WRAL Tech Wire - September 19th, 2019
- 7-Year-Old Receives New FDA-Approved Retina Gene Therapy - University of Michigan Health System News - September 19th, 2019
- Hackensack University Medical Center Announces Participation in Investigational, One-Time Gene Therapy Clinical Trial for Parkinsons Patients -... - September 19th, 2019
- First Patient Dosed in Trial of Fabry Gene Therapy Candidate FLT190 - Fabry Disease News - September 19th, 2019
- Bluebird bio reveals further encouraging data for CALD gene therapy - PMLiVE - September 19th, 2019
- Joseph M. Sanzari Childrens Hospital and John Theurer Cancer Center Launch Clinical Trial Evaluating Gene Therapy for Severe Sickle Cell Disease in... - September 19th, 2019
- Personalised medicine: developing gene therapies - AOP - September 19th, 2019
- A Child's Shattered Chromosomes Illustrate the Value of Supportive Therapies | DNA Science Blog - PLoS Blogs - September 19th, 2019
- Novartis says Pharmalittle: Pelosi unveils aggressive drug pricing plan - STAT - September 19th, 2019
- TrakCel partners with McKesson - BioPharma-Reporter.com - September 19th, 2019
- CMTA Grants $335,000 to Projects that Advance Therapy Development - Charcot-Marie-Tooth News - September 19th, 2019
- First patient dosed in Fabry Disease gene therapy trial - PharmaTimes - September 19th, 2019
- PPMD Awards University of Florida $1 Million for Novel Gene Therapy Approach Targeting the Heart - PRNewswire - September 19th, 2019
- Early snapshot of Adverum's eye gene therapy sparks concern about vision loss - Endpoints News - September 19th, 2019
- Type 2 Gaucher Trial of Gene Therapy PR001 May Open with Higher Dose - Gaucher Disease News - September 19th, 2019
- An Exton gene-therapy maker, after high hopes, sold at modest price - The Philadelphia Inquirer - September 19th, 2019
- Therapy creates new neurons for faster stroke recovery - Futurity: Research News - September 19th, 2019
- Bluebird gene therapy shows sustained benefit in CALD study - Seeking Alpha - September 19th, 2019
- Houston Comets - Wikipedia - May 28th, 2019
- Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETF Rejection, AMD Microchip Sales, and Hedge Funds - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: What You Need to Know This Week - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: New Exchanges Could Boost Crypto Liquidity - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Vitalik Buterin Doesn’t Care About Bitcoin ETFs - May 25th, 2019
- Bitcoin Rise: Is the Recent Bitcoin Price Surge a Sign of Things to Come or Another Misdirection? - May 25th, 2019
- Gene therapy - Wikipedia - May 14th, 2019
- What is gene therapy? - Genetics Home Reference - NIH - May 14th, 2019
- Gene therapy - Mayo Clinic - May 14th, 2019
- Gene therapy | medicine | Britannica.com - May 14th, 2019
- What is Gene Therapy? - Learn.Genetics - May 14th, 2019
- Gene Therapy Research Institutes and Universities - May 14th, 2019
- Gene Therapy - Sickle Cell Anemia News - May 14th, 2019
- Home | Axovant Gene Therapies | New York City - May 14th, 2019
- About Us | Axovant Gene Therapies - May 14th, 2019
- What is gene therapy? - Genetics Home Reference - NIH - May 1st, 2019
- Gene therapy - Wikipedia - May 1st, 2019
- What is Gene Therapy? - Learn.Genetics - May 1st, 2019
- Gene Therapy - Learn.Genetics - May 1st, 2019
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH) price, charts, market cap, and other ... - April 29th, 2019
- What is Bitcoin Cash? - finance.yahoo.com - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Price, historic Charts and detailed Metrics - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoin Soars As Ethereum, Ripple's XRP, Bitcoin Cash, And ... - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoin Cash - finance.yahoo.com - April 29th, 2019
- What is Bitcoin Cash? - Coin Rivet - April 29th, 2019
- Moon Cash | Free bitcoin cash faucet - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Price, View BCH Live Value & Buy Bitcoin ... - April 29th, 2019
- Cash App - Bitcoin - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH) price, chart, and fundamentals info ... - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoin Cash - Wikipedia - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoincash price | index, chart and news | WorldCoinIndex - April 29th, 2019
- Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: New Exchanges Could Boost Crypto Liquidity - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETF Rejection, AMD Microchip Sales, and Hedge Funds - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: What You Need to Know This Week - April 21st, 2019
- Bitcoin Rise: Is the Recent Bitcoin Price Surge a Sign of Things to Come or Another Misdirection? - April 21st, 2019