Gene Therapy Controls, Cures Type 1 Diabetes in Dogs
February 11, 2013 1:59 PM
comment(s) - last by
The research team and the cured dogs
(Source: Pierre Caufap)
Only one session of injections cured the dogs for over four years
Researchers from Barcelona have developed a new gene therapy that significantly improved the
blood glucose levels
of dogs with type 1 diabetes -- and could potentially be a cure.
The team was made up of researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and was led by Fàtima Bosch.
The new gene therapy consists of a single session of multiple injections. These injections presented adeno-associated vectors (AAV) that both expressed the insulin gene, and also glucokinase (an enzyme that regulates an uptake of glucose from the blood). When both genes were expressed, the excess of blood sugar in type 1 diabetic dogs was controlled over a long-term period.
The adeno-associated vectors were derived from non-pathogenic viruses, and simply transferred the two genes to the muscle of the dogs once injected.
This gene therapy was tested on dogs, who received a single administration of the gene therapy. Results showed that the dogs' blood glucose levels were controlled all the time, whether they were eating or fasting. The dogs didn't have any episodes of hypoglycemia, either, which is when blood glucose levels drop too low.
The dogs in the study maintained normal blood glucose levels for more than four years after the injections without requiring any more sessions, and still show no signs of the disease returning. They didn't experience any secondary complications associated with type 1 diabetes in that time period, either.
Since AAV vectors have been previously introduced into skeletal muscle treatments, getting this gene therapy into a clinical setting shouldn't be too difficult. Once this has been accomplished for
type 1 diabetic
companion animals, it should move on to humans.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
Might not ever make it to people...
2/12/2013 8:20:23 AM
There is a lot of genetic research with gene therapy in existence and to a certain extent we have been able to successfully treat a number of diseases with gene therapy including SCID, hemophilia, sickle cell and diabetes now. The problem we continually run into is the longevity of the process which can vary from days to years depending on the vector and target cells, and the huge risk of cancer and even death. Viruses are indiscriminate on where they place a corrected gene in the chromosome. Considering, the millions of possible locations it could land right in the middle of a gene that regulates cell growth and/or cell death. That disruption can lead to cell proliferation and has actually caused cancer and even death in multiple circumstances.
I personally would love to see the day this becomes mainstream, but there are tons of hurdles to overcome. Including appropriate vectors, gene placement, genetic variation, stem cells, cost, delivery, monitoring... the list goes on and on.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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