Saturday April 20, 2019

Gene Therapy Wins Big at Portugal’s Champalimaud Foundation

The foundation, which focuses on neuroscience and oncology research at its Lisbon base, was set up at the bequest of Portugal's late industrialist Antonio Champalimaud.

0
//
Gene Theory
ean Bennett, Albert Maguire, Robin Ali, James Bainbridge, Samuel Jacobson, T. Michael Redmond and Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa attend the 2018 Antonio Champalimaud Vision Awards ceremony at Champalimaud Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal, VOA

Seven scientists in the United States and Britain who have come up with a revolutionary gene therapy cure for a rare genetic form of childhood blindness won a 1 million euro ($1.15 million) prize Tuesday, Portugal’s Champalimaud Foundation said.

Established in 2006, the annual award for work related to vision is one of the world’s largest science prizes, more than the latest 9 million Swedish crown ($987,000) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

“This is the first, and still only, example of successful gene therapy in humans that corrects an inherited genetic defect and is therefore a milestone in medical therapeutics,” said Alfred Sommer, Dean Emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and chairman of the award jury.

Gene
Colour sensitivity can also led to Retinal Diseases/Blindness. Pixabay

One of those honored, Michael Redmond of the National Eye Institute in Maryland, had traced the cause of the disease, Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), to a mutated gene.

Three cooperating research teams later managed to replace the gene in the eye, restoring vision to treated children and adults with one form of LCA and “enabling the entire field of gene therapy for human disease,” the foundation said.

These teams are comprised of U.S. scientists Jean Bennett and Albert Maguire; Samuel Jacobson and William Hauswirth; and Britons Robin Ali and James Bainbridge.

Also Read: India Aims Towards Highest Level Of Health

Their gene augmentation therapy involved the delivery of healthy genes using engineered harmless viruses, described by the foundation as “an elegant solution.”

The foundation, which focuses on neuroscience and oncology research at its Lisbon base, was set up at the bequest of Portugal’s late industrialist Antonio Champalimaud who died in 2004. The first vision prize was awarded in 2006. (VOA)

Next Story

Know Which Gene in Your Body Could Help Brain Heal Itself After A Stroke

It is unlikely that gene therapy delivered by viruses will become the go-to treatment for strokes.

0
brain
Jung further added that not all inflammation in the brain is bad as it plays a role in fighting infection and helps clear away dead tissue. However, inflammation for a long duration could lead to the death of neurons. Pixabay

Researchers have found that a gene could help the brain heal itself after a stroke or any other head-related injuries.

The study, published in Cell Reports, suggested that a dose of the TRIM9 gene could reduce brain swelling after stroke, prevent damage following a blow to the head (concussion) or encephalitis, which is the inflammation of the brain.

genes
The is because TRIM9 is abundant in the youthful brain but grows scarce with age. Pixabay

In addition, in a lab model, the researchers from the University of Southern California found that older brains with low TRIM9 levels — or engineered brains missing the TRIM9 gene entirely — were prone to extensive swelling following a stroke.

The is because TRIM9 is abundant in the youthful brain but grows scarce with age.

On the other hand, when the team used a harmless virus to carry a dose of the gene directly into TRIM9-deficient brains, the swelling decreased dramatically and recovery improved, the findings further revealed.

heart
The study, published in Cell Reports, suggested that a dose of the TRIM9 gene could reduce brain swelling after stroke, prevent damage following a blow to the head (concussion) or encephalitis, which is the inflammation of the brain. Pixabay

It is unlikely that gene therapy delivered by viruses will become the go-to treatment for strokes, head injuries or encephalitis as the best shot at treating stroke is within the first 30 minutes to one hour, said lead author Jae Jung at the varsity.

Also Read: This Slum School in Gurugram Has Walls That Speak Through its Wall Paintings

Jung further added that not all inflammation in the brain is bad as it plays a role in fighting infection and helps clear away dead tissue. However, inflammation for a long duration could lead to the death of neurons. (IANS)