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Gene Therapy Cures "Bubble Boy"

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the next-we'll-see-if-hemos-can-be-cured dept.

Science 369

bofh31337 writes "NewScientist is reporting that Welsh boy Rhys Evans has been cured of the fatal severe combined immunodeficiency ("bubble boy") disease. The medical team, lead by Adrian Thrasher, was able to take the stem cells that give rise to immune cells from his bone marrow and add a normal copy of the gene to the stem cell using a retro virus. Seven months after treatment, Rhys was cured."

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369 comments

if only (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282028)

gene therapy could cure my first post habit.

first nigger! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282182)

NIGGER

My experiences with Windows XP Professional (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282029)

I am a Computer Information Systems Professional [devry.edu] at a major Fortune 500 corporation. Very recently the head of our IT department decided that we were going to switch every one of our networks over to Windows XP Professional. We had previously been running OpenBSD on all our quad processor Xeons. Some of them had had uptimes approaching a year! My personal favourite, Gerbil, had been running without a reboot for three years.

One day one of those Microsoft shills that you often read about on the Register [theregister.co.uk] came by for a visit. I grew very suspicious about what was going on when my boss and the Microsoft representative walked by my desk, and entered the server room. I could hear muffled voices through the closed door. The Microsoft representative was asking what we were running on our servers! My worst fears had come true. I sat at my desk for the rest of the day, silently awaiting the bad news. The news did not come until the next day. It was worse than I had feared. We were to be a Microsoft only shop from that day on! I could not believe it. The Microsoft representative had told my boss that the operating and support costs would actually go down. And my boss had fully bought into it, hook, line, and sinker.

Tough times hit our company in the last month, and we were forced to lay off a few of the less experienced IS/IT workers. One of them took this rather hard. As a last minute attempt at corporate sabotage, he decided to change all of the Computer Administrator passwords on a few of the XP Professional boxes sitting around in the server room. This caused absolute havoc, as Dell had failed to send along administrator passwords for the new boxes. Our company could not make use of these computers for three days. It took Dell that long to get us the administrator passwords. It is strictly because of Microsoft's poor implementation of a multi-user computing environment that our company lost three days of productivity.

Needless to say, I had our quad Xeons back running OpenBSD by the end of the week. Gerbil is back on its way to another glorious 3 years of uptime.

That's Funny... (OT) (0, Offtopic)

ejungle (398309) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282079)

That was a rather heart-warming tale, as I'm an OpenBSD user myself. However, I must take issue with one statement:

We had previously been running OpenBSD on all our quad processor Xeons.

I wasn't aware that OpenBSD had gained SMP functionality. In fact, I'm quite certain it has not. Much to the dismay of myself and others mind you.

So may I ask, is this some sort of "anti-troll"?

Re:That's Funny... (OT) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282181)

Uhm... No. It's a troll. The point of a troll is to have blatant errors that the clueful can pick up on.

Science blows my mind (0, Offtopic)

York the Mysterious (556824) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282031)

Science blows my mind. Too bad theres bad stuff that happens as well as good

Re:Science blows my mind (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282069)

Yah.. bad stuff sucks.

first POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282032)

fisrt PoSt

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282033)

Take that!

and in other news (-1, Offtopic)

epiphani (254981) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282034)

first post!

you know, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282036)

I don't like the word "cured"...there's something final, fatalistic about it. can't we say, "his condition seems to have permanently improved"? is this just me?

Re:you know, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282117)

"I was cured, all right."

-- Alex DeLarge, A Clockwork Orange

Re:you know, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282247)

You are not!

Is slashdot too normal? (-1, Offtopic)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282039)

there is an extra "normal" in the story heading. Pretty cool news btw.

Re:Is slashdot too normal? (-1, Offtopic)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282096)

this is great i get modded down for doing someone elses proofreading.

Dont do anyone any favors.

Re:Is slashdot too normal? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282173)

We don't need no stinkin' badgers!

Guess I was wrong! (3, Funny)

tcd004 (134130) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282040)

I thought he was cured by scientology!

VISA's cure for celebrity shoplifters... [lostbrain.com]

tcd004

Re:Guess I was wrong! (0, Offtopic)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282055)

Wouldn't he already be clear if he was a "bubble boy".

Re:Guess I was wrong! (-1, Offtopic)

MisterBlister (539957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282143)

Note to mods: The parent of this post is a John ("Boy in the Plastic Bubble") Travolta reference and not off-topic. THIS reply, however, is off-topic and should be moderated as such..if you have the GUTS!

Can they... (1)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282042)

Now can they just make me seven feet tall so I can play pro basketball?

The Article... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282044)

Gene therapy has cured Welsh baby Rhys Evans of the fatal "bubble boy" disease. "His progress seems nothing short of a miracle," says his mother Marie. Another boy treated more recently continues to improve. The treatment, carried out at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, is one of only a handful of successful gene therapy trials in people. It is also only the third trial of gene therapy for severe combined immunodeficiency or SCID. Alain Fischer's team at the Necker Hospital in Paris reported the first-ever treatment in 2000, of two boys, while an Italian-Israeli team recently reported promising initial results with two people who have another form of the disease. Nine people in total have had gene therapy at the Necker Hospital, and seven of them are doing well. But the researchers at Great Ormond Street think they have developed a better way of delivering the gene to correct the fault that causes the disease. Solitary confinement The type of SCID that the Welsh baby had is "X-linked", caused by a fault in a gene on the X chromosome that makes an immune protein called interleukin-2. The disease affects boys because they only have one X chromosome. The faulty gene stops the development of T cells, a key part of the immune system. Children must be kept in isolation to protect them from catching infections and usually die young. A bone marrow transplant can cure the disease, but suitable donors are only found in a third of cases. To treat the boys, the Great Ormond Street team took the stem cells that give rise to immune cells from the two boys' bone marrow. Then they used a modified form of a retrovirus found in gibbons to add a normal copy of the faulty gene to the stem cells. The virus has altered spikes on its surface which may mean it binds better to stem cells and transfers the gene to them more efficiently, team leader Adrian Thrasher told New Scientist. The engineered stem cells were then returned to the boys' bodies. Rhys Evans is now back at home, with normal T cell levels, seven months after treatment. The second child, treated just three months ago, continues to improve at home. The Great Ormond Street researchers say they are planning to treat another four boys over the next two years.

Re:The Article... (1)

Jouster (144775) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282187)

(Braces himself for the -1 offtopic, but it had to be said...)

The only thing that's more disturbing than genetic engineering is the fact that this comment's parent got modded up for verbatim copy-and-paste. The AC didn't even use linebreaks.

Jouster

Disturbing? (2, Insightful)

paranoid.android (71379) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282231)

And how is genetic engineering (or, at least, the type described in the article) disturbing? It almost certainly saved this baby's life, and prevented him from suffering a short, isolated existence in a plastic bubble, not to mention the psychological trauma of an accidental viewing of this piece of dreck [imdb.com] .

Re:Disturbing? (1)

Jouster (144775) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282267)

It's absolutely glorious, to answer your question.

Tomorrow, when a doctor acts to correct a mental disorder on your child and winds up deleting the spark for the next Van Gogh, what will you think? Science does not get judged by its first example, it gets judged by the eventual results of the full range of its uses.

Jouster

The Article...BACKWARDS. HA, beat that! (-1, Flamebait)

MarcoJROM (412323) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282200)

.sraey owt txen eht revo syob ruof rehtona taert ot gninnalp era yeht yas srehcraeser teertS dnomrO taerG ehT .emoh ta evorpmi ot seunitnoc ,oga shtnom eerht tsuj detaert ,dlihc dnoces ehT .tnemtaert retfa shtnom neves ,slevel llec T lamron htiw ,emoh ta kcab won si snavE syhR .seidob 'syob eht ot denruter neht erew sllec mets dereenigne ehT .tsitneicS weN dlot rehsarhT nairdA redael maet ,yltneiciffe erom meht ot eneg eht srefsnart dna sllec mets ot retteb sdnib ti naem yam hcihw ecafrus sti no sekips deretla sah suriv ehT .sllec mets eht ot eneg ytluaf eht fo ypoc lamron a dda ot snobbig ni dnuof surivorter a fo mrof deifidom a desu yeht nehT .worram enob 'syob owt eht morf sllec enummi ot esir evig taht sllec mets eht koot maet teertS dnomrO taerG eht ,syob eht taert oT .sesac fo driht a ni dnuof ylno era sronod elbatius tub ,esaesid eht eruc nac tnalpsnart worram enob A .gnuoy eid yllausu dna snoitcefni gnihctac morf meht tcetorp ot noitalosi ni tpek eb tsum nerdlihC .metsys enummi eht fo trap yek a ,sllec T fo tnempoleved eht spots eneg ytluaf ehT .emosomorhc X eno evah ylno yeht esuaceb syob stceffa esaesid ehT .2-nikuelretni dellac nietorp enummi na sekam taht emosomorhc X eht no eneg a ni tluaf a yb desuac ,"deknil-X" si dah ybab hsleW eht taht DICS fo epyt ehT tnemenifnoc yratiloS .esaesid eht sesuac taht tluaf eht tcerroc ot eneg eht gnireviled fo yaw retteb a depoleved evah yeht kniht teertS dnomrO taerG ta srehcraeser eht tuB .llew gniod era meht fo neves dna ,latipsoH rekceN eht ta ypareht eneg dah evah latot ni elpoep eniN .esaesid eht fo mrof rehtona evah ohw elpoep owt htiw stluser laitini gnisimorp detroper yltnecer maet ilearsI-nailatI na elihw ,syob owt fo ,0002 ni tnemtaert reve-tsrif eht detroper siraP ni latipsoH rekceN eht ta maet s'rehcsiF nialA .DICS ro ycneicifedonummi denibmoc ereves rof ypareht eneg fo lairt driht eht ylno osla si tI .elpoep ni slairt ypareht eneg lufsseccus fo lufdnah a ylno fo eno si ,latipsoH teertS dnomrO taerG s'nodnoL ta tuo deirrac ,tnemtaert ehT .evorpmi ot seunitnoc yltnecer erom detaert yob rehtonA .eiraM rehtom sih syas ",elcarim a fo trohs gnihton smees ssergorp siH" .esaesid "yob elbbub" lataf eht fo snavE syhR ybab hsleW deruc sah ypareht eneG

Great! (1)

h4l0 (561266) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282051)

Im really happy that they were able to cure "bubble boy". hopefully this means that other oppritunities to cure people with "Gene Therapy"

No cure (5, Funny)

DeadBugs (546475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282053)

Sadly there is no cure for the people who got sick after seeing the movie "Bubble Boy"

Re:No cure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282131)

LOL!

Re:No cure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282180)

Obviously there's no cure for whatever disease it is that causes AOL'ers to post as if they are seeing the internet for the first time.

GAG ----> {ROTFLMAO LOL!!!!!!!} --- choke

That kind of shit can only come from the damaged brain of AOL. Go away. You ruined the Usenet and I'm still fucking bitter about it. If I see ROTFLMAO again I swear somebody is really going to be rolling on the floor, trying to hold their guts in.

ROTFLMAO (0, Offtopic)

astr0boy (265689) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282195)

ROTFLMAO i live in mason city, iowa. come get me.

Re:No cure (0, Offtopic)

Jouster (144775) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282221)

It isn't "on-topic" for the article, but it's on-topic for the thread!
That kind of shit can only come from the damaged brain of AOL. Go away. You ruined the Usenet and I'm still fucking bitter about it. If I see ROTFLMAO again I swear somebody is really going to be rolling on the floor, trying to hold their guts in.
However bitter you may think you are, I'm more so. They also screwed up MUDs and brought in the current state of spelling and punctuation ("omg i cant believ its u, girl").

Jouster

a little too late (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282054)

It's too bad they couldn't cure the guy before that god awful movie [imdb.com] was made.

Perhaps now... (5, Funny)

funkbrain (217835) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282056)

...science can answer the Moors/Moops riddle which has plauged mankind since the dark ages!

Mod parent up! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282175)

You beat me to it!

Question (5, Interesting)

Da Masta (238687) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282058)

The potential power of stem cell research is clearly evident in this case. My question, not to troll, is whether this type of research could have been possible/allowed in the US. AFAIK, the laws in the states allow a restrictive amount of stem cell research -- would this have been enough for similar treatment here?

Re:Question (5, Informative)

glwtta (532858) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282073)

The laws don't restrict the research itself, they restict the number of cell lines available for research. So yeah, it would've been possible in the US, provided the scientists could get their hands on the stem cells.

Re:Question (5, Informative)

nathanm (12287) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282198)

The laws don't restrict the research itself, they restict the number of cell lines available for research.
They don't actually restrict the number of stem cell lines, they merely limit government funding to the existing lines. Anyone could start new lines with private funding.

Also, the policy only refers to embryonic stem cells. The bubble boys were cured with their own stem cells.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282220)

You dummy! Read the article, the stem
cells came from the BOY'S OWN BONE MARROW.
That kind of research is not only right and good
but quite legal.

Re:Question (5, Informative)

ageitgey (216346) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282109)

The US has laws limiting embryonic stem cell research. They don't care if use use cells from yourself (as they did with the 'bubble boy'). The issue is whether or not more break-throughs of this type could be made faster by using stem cells from all the frozen embroyos laying around (which are basically big clumps of stem cell :)

Re:Question (1)

swankypimp (542486) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282236)

There have been a number of studies on alternative sources of stem cells, like those in umbilical cord blood and bone marrow, that have shown more promising results than tests with embryonic cells. Unfortunately, they have been underreported by the mainstream press, who for the most part politically favors ebryonic stem cell research (ESCR). This summer and fall there were a series of insightful articles on the topic on the National Review's web site. One such article is here: http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-smit h012802.shtml [nationalreview.com] For others, go to nationalreview.com and search for "stem cell."

Yes, Maybe (2, Informative)

Shook (75517) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282133)

A stem cell is cell that can turn into different type of cells. There are many type of stem cells, and the controversy in the US is only over human embryonic stem cells. These cells can only be obtained by destroying what many consider a human life.

Stem cells in adult bone marrow can turn into many types of blood cells. From the article, it sounds like the stem cells used came from the patients' own bone marrow so human embryos probably weren't used. The article doesn't say where the normal copy of the gene came from, but I doubt it would need to come from a human embryo.

Re:Yes, Maybe (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282171)

I as a pro-lifer would rather go through a bone marrow donation than have a entire type of human life dehumanized and destroyed. Anyone else, and answer only if you know what a bone marrow donation is like.

Re:Question (1)

ksuMacGyver (562019) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282196)

Quote: "To treat the boys, the Great Ormond Street team took the stem cells that give rise to immune cells from the two boys' bone marrow."

That's not outlawed in the US...

Re:Question (1)

lost_it (44553) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282214)

"To treat the boys, the Great Ormond Street team took the stem cells that give rise to immune cells from the two boys' bone marrow." [emphasis added]

Please read the story. This would be perfectly fine with the current regulations in the US. This cure has nothing to do with embryonic stem cells; the stem cells came from the boys' bone marrow. Current US regulations only restrict embryonic (as in, "taken from an embryo") stem cells.

I'm not saying that this makes the current regulations right, I'm just saying that this particular cure has nothing to do with embryonic stem cells.

this would be ok under current US research laws (1)

cbnewman (106449) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282238)

it sounds like the stem cells used in this case were taken from the boys' own bone marrow. the objections raised in the US are from embryonic stem cells.

with modern technology, all stem cells taken from adults can only differentiate into certain types of cells ("pluripotent"). this may change as we work some basic science out. they only need immune cells, so they could settle for precursors to that particular cell line (e.g. they don't need to grow a new pancreas for him)

fetal, or embryonic, stem cells are totipotent and have the ability to become any cell in the body. boy would scientists like to know more about how to do /that./

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282059)

I guess that John Travolta will not be appearing in a sequel...

More coverage... (5, Informative)

abhinavnath (157483) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282060)

The Guardian [guardian.co.uk] , and Yahoo [yahoo.com]

In a related story... (3, Funny)

cosmicg (313545) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282063)

Paul Simon has announced a full recall of his "Graceland" CD...

Playing God? (2, Insightful)

Bowfinger (559430) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282066)

Part of me is terrified at the potential for creating unimaginable horrors; the other part is completely in awe of the amazing things science can do. We're moving closer and closer to playing God. I pray we're up to the responsibility.

Truly awesome.

Re:Playing God? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282076)

The only reason I played God was because God told me to.

Re:Playing God? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282081)

Yeah well, god is a lazy bum.. about time somebody replaced him.

Re:Playing God? (1)

Slash Veteran (561542) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282083)

We're moving closer and closer to playing God. I pray we're up to the responsibility.

Rest assured, we're not. Good intentions pave the...

Not that I say we should stop. It's not in our nature. Just sit back and wait for the mind boggling dilemmas that are certainly to come.

Re:Playing God? (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282191)

We're going to do it anyway, and since we've only a handful of generations until the computers get smarter than we are it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.

Re:Playing God? (5, Insightful)

flynt (248848) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282147)

Why is it that no matter what things humans do to the earth (good or bad), the ONLY time we're "playing God" is when we fiddle with genes. Very arbitrary criterion if you ask me. Did not God create the trees and the animals? Why when we destroy or create these things then are we not "playing God". It seems a bit illogical to me.

Re:Playing God? (2)

truesaer (135079) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282166)

Are we really playing god in any new way? Sure there is a lot of power in genetic treatments, but transplants, antibiotics, and other major medical advances were also amazing leaps at the time. Its taking so long to develop these new treatments that I think we'll get it right.

Bahh! (1)

Riskable (19437) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282184)

I think the solution to your fear is to become an atheist =)

I mean, serously, if science brings us to the point where it's commonplace to "play God" then what's the point of worshipping a diety? Science already saves lives, improves the quality of life of billions, and enables us to control our own destinies. What's worshipping a god going to give you? Where has it gotten us in the past?

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi said, "God has no religion." If we're our own gods, then we should just give up on religion and believe in ourselves. If we can do that, you have nothing to fear.

We are always playing God (1)

Macrobat (318224) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282204)

We play God when we decide to meddle with the construction of our genes, or of the atom, or of the environment.

We are also playing God when we see the pain and suffering already present in our fellow humans' bodies or in the world at large but decide it's not worth it to take any risks or try something new.

God's Biotech Lab... (3, Insightful)

gnovos (447128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282212)

I don't remembering God *having* a biotech lab, or at least it wasn't mentioned in any bible *I'VE* ever heard of... (Though, perhaps it's in $cientology's secret documents)

UNTIL we can manipulate ALL REALITY with only the power of WILL, we will NOT be be coming anywhere close to "playing god".

We are there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282213)

Everything you do is playing God. Nothing is natural. You can't eat, you can't take medicine, you can't walk, without "playing God" in some way. It's nothing to be terrified of. It's what we are as humans. If you believe the Christian faith, this is the same thing they've been saying the whole time. We are made in "God's image" and everything we do is a small scale mimic of him.

Relax.

Stem Cells Evil! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282067)

It sure is a good thing that Republicans and Christians are against the use of stem cells, otherwise all these diseases might not be able to roam free and eat away at people from the inside out.

Re:Stem Cells Evil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282080)

did you notice that these stem cells were from his own bone marrow?
there are non-embryonic sources of stem cells that aren't morally reprehensible.

Re:Stem Cells Evil! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282099)

No, i was too busy trolling. Sorry, i'm a gay ass faggot

the sequel (1)

wyndigo (534813) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282068)

i can see it:

Ok we got the funding for the sequel now go get bubbleboy, and ... what the hell do you mean he
was cured? What is the world comming to! When did
medical science take precendence over bad cinema
with a boy in a bubble..."

--wyn

Good News... (3, Insightful)

mrgaribaldi (162490) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282071)

Indeed this is good news however genetic manipulation is not something to be taken lightly. While at the moment this child has been cured what are the side effects of such a treatment later in life? What is to say that this won't spawn some new disease that affects the rest of use.

I fear the use of technology that we do not understand.

Apologies if I sound alarmist.

Re:Good News... (1)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282105)

AFAIK we understand this 'technology', in basic form at least. Because our understanding is basic, and also that we probably aren't seeing the whole picture of genetic sequencing and associated protein synthesis, it seems like a cowboy territory. We know a lot about what's going on in molecular biology and genetics, but there is so much that we don't know and that we just plain can't observe. I'd go on but I couldn't stay awake during my molecular biology classes when I was taking them.

We understand no technology (1)

Macrobat (318224) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282167)

Fear the use of technology we don't understand, but realize it's all a matter of degree. Nobody knows how computers work, for example. Of course, we all know a little bit about parts of it--some of us can program, others can design circuits on silicon chips--but nobody knows all the parts, or how many ways they can interact. And there's little way for us to explore the world (in the scientific sense) that doesn't involve the use of technology of ever-increasing complexity.

Also, curing a fatal disorder is not taking something lightly. Although the "it might spawn some other disease" argument is compelling for emotional reasons, it's really an out-of-left-field consideration. You can say with equal certainty (i.e., little to none) that this achievement might also serendipitously lead to a plethora of other cures and treatments that might have otherwise eluded us. Then we'd be guilty of standing still when we could have done something.

For those of you who saw "Kenny Dies"... (2, Funny)

Munelight (192694) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282082)

Well, so then, if the stem cells are placed next to a Shakey's Pizza, they would become another Shakey's Pizza! And you'd have your own Shakey's Pizza where you didn't have to charge yourself to eat!

can't go without the..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282092)

all your genes r belong to us.

Re:can't go without the..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282230)

All your base pair are belong to us, dipwad.

my experience (2, Informative)

azosx (568180) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282097)

I wrote a paper this last semester in college on embryonic stem cell research. The possibilities in this field of research are endless. It's certainly not suprising to me this discovory occured in Europe. It's unfortunate the position the United States has taken towards stem cell research. It's pretty much closed to door and made the possibility of discoveries such as this very unlikely here in the U.S.

www.nih.gov/news/stemcell/index.htm has the latest information about what's taking place in the U.S. in regards to stem cell research. It's a great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about this amazing new science.

Re:my experience (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282205)

They took this guy's stem cells from his own body. Not from some embryo. There are no laws against this in the U.S. What they did was the almost the same thing as how people are treated for Hodgkins disease every day. In simplified form: 1) Extract bone marrow (and thus, stem cells) from patient, 2) Submit patient to massive radiation to kill existing stem cells in his body, 3) Put patient on IV drip of his own bone marrow (Yes, the stem cells "magically" end up where they are supposed to be in the marrow).

The only difference here (AND IT'S A REALLY COOL DIFFERENCE) is that before they put the stem cells back in this guy, they used genetic engineering techniques to insert a good copy of the Interleukin-2 gene (a "bad" il-2 gene was causing his disease to begin with) into the DNA of the stem cells.

The majority of the genetic engineering (e.g. recombinant DNA) techniques that made this possible were developed in the US over 20 years ago (and funded by US tax dollars). (These guys appeared to have done some cool things to make the stem cells more likely to be "infected" by the vector.) So don't use this story to make a case against the US policys on embryonic stem cell research. This work has nothing to do with embryonic stem cell research.

The reason why this stuff probably didn't happen in the US is that our FDA officials are a bunch of overprotective suits. That said, there have been many uses of genetic engineering in the US (treatment of cystic fibrosis comes to mind) to date- although not all have been successful.

Personally, I think it's awesome that these former bubble boys will have the chance to lead "normal" lives. Everyone involved in getting this done, from the patients themselves to their families to the doctors to the researchers to the governments to whoever paid for it (this must have cost millions including everyting), deserves much congratulations for their vision, courage and hard work.

Re:my experience (2)

nathanm (12287) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282219)

It's certainly not suprising to me this discovory occured in Europe. It's unfortunate the position the United States has taken towards stem cell research. It's pretty much closed to door and made the possibility of discoveries such as this very unlikely here in the U.S.
The new stem cell policy wouldn't have affected this research at all since it only applies to embryonic stem cells. The bubble boys were cured with their own stem cells.

Besides, the policy only limits government funding. Anyone could start new stem cell lines with private funds.

Good first step... (0)

klocwerk (48514) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282101)

What an incredible first large-scale public step in gene therapy!
Hopefully this will only be the first of many such successes.

if only they could cure that itch right between my shoulder blades that I can never seem to reach...

How did they test this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282103)

So the "bubble boy" is cured. How do you test something like this? Have someone cough on him?

How do Retro Viruses work? (1)

changos (105425) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282104)

I remeber studing about viruses, and how they attack, but I'm not familiar with retro viruses. Could they affect other parts of the body, or how do they make them only able to attack the damaged cells? Thanks for the responses.

Re:How do Retro Viruses work? (2, Informative)

Digitalia (127982) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282211)

Retroviruses are cute little viruses that write DNA from RNA using reverse transcriptase, an enzyme. These viruses possess the ability to write that DNA into pre-existing DNA and, in this manner, convert cells and such to their cause. HIV is a retrovirus. However, much more beneficial retroviruses exist. The ability to write DNA into cells allows these viruses to be used to modify live cells. Take this with a grain of salt: I've never been a very good Bio student.

Re:How do Retro Viruses work? (2, Interesting)

professortomoe (540098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282251)

Nope, you're pretty much right about a retrovirus. My Bio teacher came up with a really great analogy about retroviruses, HIV in particular: Ok, say you've got eight men in a tank. These guys each have a set of blueprints. They drive their Panzer tank through the wall of the nearest Ford factory and tell the workers to make more tanks instead of those fruity Ford Taurus things. The workers construct 7 more tanks and the guys each hop into their respective tanks, driving out of the building through the walls, bringing it to the ground. You've got the tanks as the delivery system, the men as the viral RNA, and the factory as the cell. Mind you, I may have skewed it slightly because it's been a good three months since we covered that. Oh well, it's also tired time. Heh.

Is this not trisomy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282108)

'scuse my ignorance but the article describes 'adding an extra copy of the faulty gene to the stem cells'. Isn't this going to make the little chap XXY? Doesn't that have uh some other unpleasant side effects?

Ahhhh, or is the retrovirus attacking the original X to add another copy of the specific gene. That makes sense. Boy I hope they haven't dragged anything else in with that extra gene...

Miss Kittin and The Bubble Boy (-1, Offtopic)

Alarmabad (570764) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282110)

Miss Kittin & The Hacker

80s revival? Kittin, armed with loads of irony and a deadpan that would turn Peter Sellers green, skewers the self-absorption, soulless vanity, hyperconsumption and celebrity obsession of the Me decade. Miss Kittin They say there's an Eighties revival on. If that turns out to be more than a media-contrived mirage, I'd like to congratulate Miss Kittin for pretty much raining on everyone's parade. Because, while Mods in skinny ties gyrate to revival New Wave and dance floors bump to faux-cheese House homage, Kittin's dry husk vocals show off a side of Eighties culture that a lot of these closet Renaissance Fair kids would rather ignore. Kittin, armed with loads of irony and a deadpan that would turn Peter Sellers green, skewers the self-absorption, soulless vanity, hyperconsumption and celebrity obsession of the Me decade.

"Kittin now delivers two very different albums, with two different production partners." Having appeared on one of the flagship bits of the supposed revival, Felix Da Housecat's Kittenz and Thee Glitz, Kittin now delivers two very different albums, with two different production partners. On both albums, the music is notable mostly for its synths-and-drum-machines simplicity, though each producer has his own take on their synth-pop inspirations. Kittin's contributions are what make them both truly worthwhile, reflecting smartly on both the music and the time that spawned it.

At one end of her personality is First Album, in collaboration with programmer The Hacker. The cover's murderous vignette neatly sums up the bleak, gothic tone within. The pulsating beats are mechanical and cold, less likely to be mistaken for Yello than Bauhaus. Tracks like "1982" and "Frank Sinatra" are hilariously cynical, chronicling glamorous nights on the town without a hint of zest or passion. "To be famous is so nice. Suck my dick, kiss my ass," she demands on "Sinatra," obviously getting nothing from the demand of subservience or the acts themselves. Here, Miss Kittin plays the ultimate art-damage casualty, a jet-set corpse droning through life one martini at a time. First Album, while not uniformly dark, is definitely not "dance."

Producer Golden Boy, on the other hand, has populated or with glammy, melodic, often energetic beats. Even here Kittin is too cool for school, a snide bitch smoking Carelias in a corner booth and making fun of all the little people out on the dancefloor looking silly. Everyone hates her, but her running commentary is sharp: "What do you think of this track? Here comes another break..." But then again, the propulsive, pretty "Rippin Kittin" showcases both Kittin's genuine singing ability and the provocative question: "Mommy, can I go out and kill tonight?" First Album may be better as a whole, but this song is the only moment when irony most convincingly cedes to art, when both Kittin's icy detachment and the mechanical music she shields herself with mingle in the perfect balance of self-conscious critique and genuine enjoyment.

Best Miss Kittin quote, "Suck my Dick, lick my ass."

Death to Celine Dion, I wish Ovarian cancer upon her. Death to those who destroy the sanctity that is OUT computer.

Moops? (1, Redundant)

DeafDumbBlind (264205) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282111)

Great, now that the bubble boy is cured, maybe we can get that whole Moops/Moors things figured out.

Are we good at this, or what? (1)

rnicey (315158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282112)

So do we understand the retro-virus or not?

I wish I knew more about this kind of biology. On one hand there's this stupid virus called HIV which is killing millions, has a few slightly varying strains and despite probably billions of dollars refuses to goddam die.

Then on the other hand somebody has managed to genetically engineer a retrovirus that is capable of DNA splicing in a fantastically accurate fashion and can cure many inherited diseases.

So, for the bio peeps out there, how?, why?

Re:Are we good at this, or what? (2, Informative)

big_groo (237634) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282163)

The problem with a retro-virus, is that each time it replicates, it takes a small chunk of the host's dna with it. Each iteration of the virus is a different virus altogether. Hence, the problems with developing a vaccine or cure. Influenza and HIV are both retroviruses. Google knows. Look up 'retro-virus/immunology' if you're interested in more reading...

-1 offtopic.

more importantly.... (1)

r00tarded (553054) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282114)

is there really a Dr. Thrasher? I thought he only existed in 80's skateboard movies.

Gene Therapy? Cures Bubble Boy?! (-1)

NowIveSeenItAllGuy (236625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282128)

Now I've seen it all! Moops!

gene therapy (5, Informative)

borg (95568) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282132)

The biggest problem with gene therapy is that long term expression of the target gene has been difficult to achieve. The inserted sequence, depending on the gene carrier, may or may not be inserted in to host genome. Actual insertion into the host genome is undesirable because of possible malignant transformation (insertion of the target sequence disrupts the function of a tumor supressor protein, or turns on a pro-tumor protein, etc.). Existing as a genetic sequence outside of the genome proper has also failed to achieve more than temporary expression of the desired protein.

This article describes a technique to increase the effiency of the transfer of a therapeutic gene sequence into a target cell. It does nothing to address the biggest stumbling block of gene therapy. While this is sexycool news, being cured for 3 or 7 months doesn't mean being cured for life.

Claimer: IAAMD
I don't mean to be a downer. We're just a loooong way off from real gene therapy.

Re:gene therapy; Varley plug (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282248)

I don't think that anyone can deny anymore that soon we will have a great amount of potential control over genetics. The real issue in that field has shifted over from obtaining data to data analysis; and as computers and software improve that will get easier.

I will not enter here the argument about whether it should be or not. It's irrelevant anyway, barring a global economic crash of vast proportions. The technical ability is going to come. Live with it.

I always thought that Varley's "Steel Beach" novel was an excellent treatment of that particular sort of social fork disease...

Shadow'ed

Ofcourse, (-1)

Wouter Van Hemel (411877) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282154)

If I get it right, then... uhm. I don't get it.

It was the Moops (0, Offtopic)

jvollmer (456588) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282155)

It says MOOPS!... I'll kill you!

and there are... (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282162)

groups in the US and elsewhere (everywhere?_!) that want to outlaw this kind of technology. Ackthptht! Voter Inertia....

Think about it: No rejection transplants, grown on demand, no immune system issues, and the technology to keep one alive for the required period is already here (sustains some patients for literally years while they wait for new kidneys or hearts)

Sure, it can be abused. Name me one - ONE - technology of any kind that can't be abused or turned to evil means. Come, you know you can...

Shadowbearer

"It's Just a World, It's Not Heavy" - Atlas

Re:and there are... (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282249)

Sure, it can be abused. Name me one - ONE - technology of any kind that can't be abused or turned to evil means. Come, you know you can...


Why, the beer tap of course. It can be turned, but unless you can call left or right 'evil', then we're fine.

cept for those damn vertical pull ones, then you're in shit.

What to do with the bubble (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282169)

Every year he could pull the bubble out of the back of the closet and go trick-or-treating as a bubble boy.

Oh Man! (0, Offtopic)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282179)

Okay, I'm happy for The Bubble Boy, and everything...but I was really hoping to get some good PR by playing cards with him someday.

I was even going to let him win.

Dammit.

(half-OT) GOSH owns Peter Pan (0, Offtopic)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282188)

By the way, GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital) owns a perpetual copyright on James M. Barrie's Peter Pan works. No, it's not a 95-year copyright or a life+70 copyright. It's a perpetual copyright, recognized by the Berne treaty. (Read More... [wikipedia.com] ) When Disney brings Peter Pan II [go.com] to Region 2 (where European copyrights are more strictly enforced), GOSH is going to make a wad of dough [verylowsodium.com] on royalties, giving Disney a taste of its own medicine [wikipedia.com] .


(posted without bonus because it's only tangential to the article)

retrovirus information (5, Informative)

jest3r (458429) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282189)

A retrovirus is special because it contains an enzyme called reverse transcriptase. This enzyme works backwards, translating RNA [accessexcellence.org] into DNA. Retroviruses contain RNA within their protein coat, and use reverse transcriptase to create DNA that can be inserted into the cell it is attacking. One of the most famous (or perhaps infamous) retroviruses is the HIV retrovirus, which causes AIDS.

Retroviruses are being investigated for 3 reasons:

1) They can be used as vectors to transport genetic information into a host cell.

2) Reverse transcriptase can be used to isolate DNA sequences from a mRNA chain so that the gene can be manipulated through bioengineering techniques.

3) To find a way to genetically engineer a cure for AIDS. If the action of reverse transcriptase can be halted somehow, the HIV virus will have no way to spread its harm through the body and millions of lives could be saved.

more info [thinkquest.org]

Isn't this the same as.. (1)

Kotukunui (410332) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282208)

...the plot for the latest "Spiderman" movie.

Perhaps when Rhys reaches puberty he will suddenly develop super powers which will enable him to swing from tree to tree like a gibbon. "Bubble Boy" becomes "Monkey Man".

That would be cool (as long as he only uses his powers for good)

open sopurce != quality (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3282217)

I decided to rebuild my RedHat box, because it got fucked up due to a bunch of mail issues revolving around a package called omail. I posted a question here asking if anyone ever used it, because I figured someone here would have. No answers, but I'm not surprised, because there are much better webmail optins for qmail - this one was just attractive because it didn't require POP or IMAP. Anyway, by the time I got done trying to make the fucker work, I was at the point where it was easier to back shit up and rebuild my box than to back out all the changes I had made.

Now the fun starts. I went to Red Hat and got the latest .iso files from their FTP. I validated their checksums and they were good. Then, I burnt the CDs using Easy CD Creator, had no problems, and began the install. Eveything went fine with disc one. I put the second CD in when prompted, and everthing went fine. For a while.

The, I got an error. xpdf-0.92-5.i386.rpm could not be installed.
[quote]This is due to either bad install media, a missing file, or a corrupt file[/quote]

Ok, I can skip installing this, it is just a PDF viewer, so who cares? Well, my only option was [quote]Press to try again[/quote].

Hmm. Ok, I will try it again. . Nope, same thing. OK, I will just replace this CD with one that has the file burned in the appropriate path. Well, that doesn't work either. After all, there is no option. Nor is there an option so i could stick a paper clip in the little hole and have it eject. Also, I can't even skip that file and worry about it later. So, now I am rebuilding my install and trying to skip the xpdf install. However, going through every option I was going though before, xpdf wasn't ebing installed.

Open source software is certainly top quality! I don't know what I would do without those ub3rl33t /. h4x0rs poring through every line of source code and bug fixing!

While I'm downloading disc two again, I decided to fuck around with that CD: Cygwin on a Win2k box could read the file fine. Fuck Linux.

A great example of "safe" genetic engineering (2, Informative)

encebollado (472759) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282250)

This gives a great example of the safer of the two types of gene engineering, somatic. This type of gene therapy only modifies the genetic makeup of certain cells in the body. None of the effects of the changes could propogate onto his children. I wish we could see more of this type of gene therapy.
The other type, germline, alters genes in gametes (eggs and sperm). Any changes here would probably (at least with our technology) be irrevsible and would be carried by any decendents. Thankfully, people are being more cautious with this kind since the effects would be much more permanent and far reaching.

not in the US of A (1)

e40 (448424) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282252)

The administration (almost, but not quite) elected by the people would like to prevent this type of medicine from being practiced in this country. Thanks, Dubya.

Other points (4, Interesting)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | more than 12 years ago | (#3282275)

While this was going on there is a couple in California that is hopeing (as in activly looked for sperm donner who was deaf) to have a kid that is deaf so that he will be like the rest of the family (minus the cats). So while we have gene experaments going on to inhance the lives of people and potentialy bring a brave new world kind of classism effect [BadThing(TM)] we have also got people who are actively trying to set the pace of progress back.
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