Home pagePress monitoringPromising gene therapy repairs spinal cord injury in rats

Promising gene therapy repairs spinal cord injury in rats

Date: 18.6.2018 

An international team of researchers has successfully regenerated spinal tissue in rat models using a new gene therapy designed to break down scar tissue and allow new nerve cells to grow. 
Kredit: King's College London.

The therapy, which used a common antibiotic as the on/off switch to activate the treatment for two months, resulted in rats with spinal injuries relearning complex hand movements.

"What is exciting about our approach is that we can precisely control how long the therapy is delivered by using a gene 'switch'," explains Elizabeth Bradbury, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College.

"This means we can hone in on the optimal amount of time needed for recovery. Gene therapy provides a way of treating large areas of the spinal cord with only one injection, and with the switch we can now turn the gene off when it is no longer needed."

One of the clever strategies the team developed to make this new therapy successful is adding a so-called "stealth gene" to the treatment. Previous studies that scaled up the gene therapy in primate models revealed that an immune system response generally activated against the artificial gene switch mechanism. To overcome this immune response the researchers hid the mechanism in a "stealth gene" that can effectively avoid detection from immune activated T-cells.





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