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Gene Therapy Could Soon Be Approved In Europe 44

another random user writes "According to the BBC, 'Europe is on the cusp of approving a gene therapy for the first time, in what would be a landmark moment for the field. ... The European Medicines Agency has recommended a therapy for a rare genetic disease which leaves people unable to properly digest fats. The European Commission will now make the final decision. The idea of gene therapy is simple: if there is a problem with part of a patient's genetic code then replace that part of the code. The reality has not been so easy. In one gene therapy trial a U.S. teenager, Jesse Gelsinger, died, and other patients have developed leukaemia. There no gene therapies available outside of a research lab in Europe or the U.S.' They have considered the use of Glybera to treat lipoprotein lipase deficiency, which leads to fat building up in the blood, abdominal pain and life-threatening pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). 'The therapy uses a virus to infect muscle cells with a working copy of the gene.'"
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Gene Therapy Could Soon Be Approved In Europe

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  • rare genetic disease which leaves people unable to properly digest fats

    My first reaction was, "I thought that Diabetes was common, maybe not in Europe?"

    Then I thought, "I hope it works, it would mean a proven therapy that could easily be applied to other issues like celluar break down of skin tissue." I wish these folks success.
    • Re:Rare? (Score:5, Informative)

      by pahles ( 701275 ) on Friday July 20, 2012 @02:43PM (#40716231)
      Diabetes has to do with the inability to digest sugar, not fat... (sorry for my English)
      • There's nothing wrong with your English, there.

        It's funny how so many people say "sorry for my bad English" when they speak better English than most Americans - or even English people.

        • by jpapon ( 1877296 )

          when they speak better English than most Americans - or even English people.

          It's funny that you think English people speak "better" English than Americans. I've heard some pretty horrid gobbledygook coming out of the mouths of Englishmen (just as I've heard it coming out of Americans).

          • Woss this about English not speakin' English proper? I'll get out me spoons. We invented it yer damn Yanks
        • by pahles ( 701275 )
          Thanks, just wasn't sure... It is not my mother tongue.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Diabetes has to do with the inability to digest sugar, not fat... (sorry for my English)

        To clarify, diabetes results when cells' ability to import glucose from the bloodstream is impaired by insulin deficiency or insulin resistance. Once the sugar gets into the cell it is metabolized normally.

  • There are no? If you have a southern draw like me though, you just run it together and it sounds the same.

  • When you just exist in life without really enjoying it because of disease, illness or other condition out of your control, every avenue of possibility to improve your quality of life looks appealing. It's unfortunate there were casualties but I'm sure there were also advancements made despite that fact.

  • Messing with the human genome, in a way that could very likely propagate? OK, then.

    Hypocrites (assuming Greenpeace isn't protesting this advance).

    • So many things...

      A) Infecting reproductive cells isn't quite the same as infecting muscle cells.
      B) I doubt they are infecting a statistically significant number of cells in the person's body, so in the unlikely event that the virus can also infect reproductive cells it's still statistically unlikely to happen.
      C) They are repairing a faulty human gene using the correct version of that human gene, as opposed to taking a gene from one species and inserting it into another
      D) Only the people who elect to tak

      • You are right that this is a highly unlikely scenario, especially given that your point C multiplies against A and B such that it is highly unlikely that a dangerous or detrimental genetic change could occur, and also highly unlikely that any change would be passed on to offspring. The chances of both are extremely small. I am forced to disagree with your conclusion though. There are seven thousand million people in the world. In terms of medical treatment unlikely is synonymous with daily occurrence, very
  • the real possibility to have genetically modified athletes in the future (via the same principle of targeted virus infection) is discussed in Nature (pay per view #@!) []
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Gene therapy with some modified virus will always have this little problem: Immun systems responding in a not so predictable way. There's no way around it. If you introduce a virus the immun system will respond. In every person in a slightly different way.

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      The immune system can be tricked. It is also not unstoppable. Indeed, in some cases, it is possible to seriously compromise or nearly eliminate the body's immune defenses on purpose these days. If the gene was a critical one that needed to be replaced, you'd probably put them in a bubble, compromise the immune system, administer the treatment, and then allow the immune system to regain its potency after the virus did its job. It's not risk free, but if it was the difference between possible life or cert

  • they approve gene therapy on people, but not on the plants that people eat. We do it the other way around. Pretty sure we still win the race to be the least dumb.
  • How do they make sure that the virus they use doesn't spread to others?

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.