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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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  • 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)
  • Re:reaction (Score:5, Informative)

    by simula ( 1032230 ) on Friday July 20, 2012 @03:17PM (#40716629) Homepage

    Gene therapy creates the opportunity to prevent Gattaca like scenarios. Within the Gattaca universe it was possible to sequence a person's DNA, but everyone was stuck with what they were born with. If you were luckily born with "good" genes, or if your parents selected for the sperm and eggs with the "best" genes with which to make a test tube baby, then your life was set. If you were born with less than "stellar" genes you were deemed inferior and discriminated against.

    What is so exciting about this advance is that if you are born with a defective gene that results in illness, for a certain spectrum of genes, it is now possible to insert a non-defective version into a virus, inject that virus into muscle cells, and you are now as good as new.

    This advance is about changing what genes you have at run-time, rather than being stuck with what you are born with. At the moment the changes we make are only additive, but give it time :)

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay