A team of scientists led by British Nobel laureate Sir Aaron Klug has advanced a new approach to gene therapy. The team has designed zinc-fingered nucleases that can recognize a specific sequence of DNA, giving them an ability to attach to very specific gene targets. The new approach has already been successfully tested on 100 diabetic patients who had lost sensation. A gene therapy that included a growth factor was used to return sensation to the patients. And now they'll be trying it out on spinal injury.
The research work could apply to a wide array of conditions. Animal tests are underway for chronic pain as well as HIV. And it may also help create new blood vessels and knock out genes that cause disease.
"The zinc-finger design allows us to target a single gene, while the nuclease disrupts the gene," says Sir Aaron. "The single step process is extremely quick and reliable and opens up exciting possibilities for research and gene therapy."
- read the article in the Telegraph