Medical Breakthroughs: Cystic Fibrosis

It's gene therapy with a twist, making microscopic bee-bee's out of DNA strands and launching them into cells to correct genetic defects. It's a project that represents a radical new era not only in gene therapy research, but in general medicine as well.

Cystic Fibrosis causes leaky lungs, secretions too thick to cough out, setting up serious, even fatal, lung infections. It happens in nose tissues too, and easy place to do a clever experiment.

Researchers found a way to tightly pack DNA in a ball, then coat it with a substance used in nasal spray, and finally send it to the nose. This way the DNA is used as the medication.

The DNA corrects the genetic defect temporarily though, up to 21 days. The next step, clinical trials for the lungs. However, possibilities of cures for other diseases could be possible, like diabetes, high cholesterol, or cancer.

Traditional gene therapy involves using a virus to carry a gene into a person's body.


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