Saturday May 25, 2019

Gene Therapy may Help Treat Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is a slowly progressive disease, so that is an advantage

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DNA
Heavy drinking can change your DNA: Study

Scientists have found that administering gene therapy may reverse damage in kidney cells, suggesting a potential treatment for chronic kidney disease characterised by gradual loss of its functions.

The research showed that whether adeno-associated virus (AAV) — a relative of the virus that causes the common cold — could deliver genetic material to damaged cells in the kidneys.

They explained that diabetes, hypertension and other conditions cause chronic kidney disease, which occurs when damaged kidneys cannot effectively filter waste and excess fluids from the body.

“Chronic kidney disease is an enormous and growing problem. Unfortunately, over the years, we have not developed more effective drugs for the condition, and this reality is leading us to explore gene therapy,” said Benjamin D. Humphreys from the Division of Nephrology at Washington University in the US.

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Gene (Representational image). IANS

In the study, published in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the team evaluated six AAV viruses, both natural and synthetic, in mice and in stem-cell-derived human kidney organoids.

A synthetic virus, Anc80, created by the researchers proved successful in reaching two types of cells that contribute to chronic kidney disease by secreting proteins that gum up the organ and cause irreversible damage.

The results showed that the genetic material carried by Anc80 was transferred successfully to the targeted kidney cells and the same virus was also used in gene therapy strategies to treat mice with kidney scarring.

Also Read: Parkinson’s Identified Gene to Combat Alzheimer’s

“The interesting thing about the adeno-associated viruses is that they persist in the body for many months, potentially giving a therapeutic gene a chance to do its work,” Humphreys explained.

“Chronic kidney disease is a slowly progressive disease, so that is an advantage. After many more years of research, we could envision that patients would need injections maybe twice a year as opposed to every week, like with chemo,” Humphreys added. (IANS)

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Gene Therapy Can Help Correct Heart Rhythm Disorder

However, considerable research is still needed before a treatment can be arrived at that is suitable for human patients

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The study modified the levels of the protein encoded by a single gene known as GPR39.  Pixabay

A novel gene therapy uses an implanted LED device to reset a racing heart immediately and automatically, paving the way for pain-free treatment for patients with heart rhythm disorder.

The therapy detects fast arrhythmias in the atrium of a rat’s heart and sends a signal to a LED device placed near the heart.

“The flash of light from this LED then causes the heart to generate an electric current itself to halt the arrhythmia,” said lead investigator Daniel Pijnappels at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

“This is made possible by using gene therapy to introduce specific light-sensitive proteins into the heart. This restores the heart’s normal rhythm immediately and automatically,” he added.

According to the researchers, this could represent a great improvement on the current way of stopping atrial fibrillation.

The heart attack brings about activation of certain genes which stay as a permanent memory in genes. Pixabay

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder in clinical practice. The current treatment, known as cardioversion, is based on administering an electric shock to the heart, which has to be done in the hospital under general anaesthesia because of pain.

For many patients, this is the only treatment to immediately stop atrial fibrillation because drugs or an operation are ineffective.

“The bioelectronic defibrillator can stop atrial fibrillation without an electrical shock. In this way, the heart can be reset in a fully automated manner and at any time,” Pijnappels said, in the paper reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Also Read- Novel Treatment Offers Promise to Stop Parkinson’s

“We anticipate that this treatment for atrial fibrillation could improve both the patient’s quality of life and their prognosis,” he added.

However, considerable research is still needed before a treatment can be arrived at that is suitable for human patients, the researchers noted. (IANS)