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Italian team cures Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome with the help of the HIV virus

tchernobog (752560) writes | about a year ago

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tchernobog (752560) writes "An Italian team funded by Telethon and S. Raffaele of Milan, was able to cure six kids affected by lethal genetic diseases (in Italian, English video): the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome and the metachromatic leukodystrophy. This is the culmination of a project lasted 15 years, and which cost more than 30M €; the researchers have published some preliminary results last year on Nature, and are waiting for the results on more patients to submit another.

The really interesting part is, they used a mix of advanced genic techniques to achieve this result. Firstly, the DNA of a defective cell is corrected with a gene first assembled in the lab. This procedure has always been very dangerous for the past 20 years: the fact that it can be used is a good achievement alone. Secondly, the corrected DNA is propagated in the patient body using a stripped-down version of the HIV virus, of which less than 10% of its original genome remains.

Might the feared HIV virus in reality prove to be salvation for some?"

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