20 Views no discussions Share Could genetically modified stem cells be used to treat genetic diseases?Two of the holy grails of medicine – stem cell technology and precision gene therapy – have been united for the first time in humans, say scientists. It means patients with a genetic disease could, one day, be treated with their own cells.A study in Nature corrected a mutation in stem cells made from a patient with a liver disease.Researchers said this was a “critical step” towards devising treatments, but safety tests were still needed.At the moment, stem cells created from a patient with a genetic illness cannot be used to cure the disease as those cells would also contain the corrupted genetic code.Scientists, at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge, were working on cirrhotic liver disease.It is caused by a change to a single pair of letters, out of the six billion which make up the genetic code. As a result, a protein which protects the body from damage, antitrypsin, cannot escape from the liver where it is made. The illness is one of the most common genetic diseases, affecting one in 2,000 people in Europe.The only solution is a liver transplant, but this requires a lifetime of drugs to prevent organ rejection.The research group took a skin cell from a patient and converted it to a stem cell. A molecular scalpel was used to cut out the single mutation and insert the right letter – correcting the genetic fault.The stem cells were then turned into liver cells. One of the lead researchers, Prof David Lomas, said: “They functioned beautifully with normal secretion and function”.When the cells were placed into mice, they were still working correctly six weeks later.‘Enormous potential’Prof Lomas said if this could be developed into a therapy it would be preferable to liver transplant as the patient would not need to take immunosuppressant drugs.He told the BBC that the technique was “ridiculously hard,” yet “the potential is enormous, but only time will tell”.Further animal studies and human clinical trials would be needed before any treatment as “the key thing is safety”.For example, concerns have been raised about “induced” stem cells being prone to expressing cancer causing genes.Prof Robin Ali, from University College London and the Medical Research Council’s stem cell translational research committee, said: “It’s very interesting.“Most gene therapy is not correcting the gene, it’s introducing a new copy of the gene, what’s exciting is that this corrects.“The big problem with individualised medicine is the cost – that is one of the major barriers.”By James GallagherHealth reporter, BBC News Sharing is caring! Tweet HealthLifestyle Gene therapy and stem cells unite by: – October 14, 2011 Share Share
PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka (CMC) – Vice-captain Vishaul Singh struck a career-best fifth first-class century to spearhead a massive West Indies A batting effort on the second day of the second four-day ‘Test’ against Sri Lanka A here Tuesday.Unbeaten on 81 overnight at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, the left-hander carved out a superb 161 to lift West Indies to 509 for nine declared in their first innings.Opener Rajendra Chandrika, who had retired hurt on 51 on Tuesday’s opening day, returned to make 84 while tail-ender Kemar Roach chipped in with 39.At the close, captain Dimuth Karunaratne was holding the hosts’ innings together with an unbeaten 66 as they reached 128 for four – still 381 runs behind heading into today’s penultimate day.Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella was not out on 38 and has so far put on 91 for the fifth wicket with Karunartne, a partnership which pulled Sri Lanka A around from danger at 37 for four.Seamer Roach trapped Avishka Fernando lbw for seven at 19 for one and Test batsman Lahiru Thirimanne followed for three, at 32 for two, when he was caught at the wicket off fast bowler Keon Joseph, who has taken two for four from four overs.Joseph removed Roshen Silva for a first-ball duck at 36 for three and with a run added, Charith Asalanka was lbw to off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall for one.However, first ‘Test’ century-maker Karunaratne produced yet another excellent innings to stave off the collapse, facing 124 deliveries and counting 12 fours while Dickwella has struck two fours in his 65-ball knock.Earlier, resuming from their overnight 331 for five, West Indies A flourished thanks to the Guyanese pair of Vishaul and Chandrika who put on 54 for the sixth wicket.While Vishaul faced 306 deliveries and struck 16 fours, Chandrika hit nine boundaries off 84 balls, falling with his second first-class century in sight, when he was lbw to leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay.Vishaul, who reached triple figures 40 minutes before lunch, then added a further 90 for the seventh wicket with Roach, who hit four fours and two sixes in his 80-ball stay at the crease.The partnership took West Indies to lunch at 410 for six and helped the visitors increase their dominance in the second session, before Roach finally departed, an hour after the resumption.Off-spinner Charith Asalanka was the best bowler with four for 104.WEST INDIES 1st innings (o/n 331 for five)R. Chandrika lbw b Vandersay 84K. Powell c wkp.. Dickwella b Anuk Fernando 29S. Hetmyer b Asalanka 48S. Brooks c wkp. Dickwella b Kumara 3V Singh b Asalanka 161J. Hamilton run-out 99R. Cornwall lbw b Karunaratne 1K. Roach c Avishka Fernando b Asalanka 39G. Motie-Kanhai lbw b Asalanka 9D. Johnson not out 8Extras: (b-8, lb-3, w-9, nb-8) 28Total: (9 wkts decl., 137.4 overs) 509Fall of wickets: 1-52, 2-120, 3-140, 4-328, 5-331, 6-385, 7-475, 8-494, 9-509.Bowling: Asitha Fernando 19-2-63-0 (w-2), Kumara 20-2-78-1 (w-1, nb-2), Anuk Fernando 13-0-76-1 (w-6, nb-4), Vandersay 31-2-110-1, Gunaratne 17-3-61-0 (nb-2), Asalanka 33.4-7-104-4, Karunaratne 4-2-6-1.SRI LANKA 1st inningsD. Karunaratne not out 66Avishka Fernando lbw b Roach 7L. Thirimanne c wkp. Hamilton b Joseph 3R. Silva c Brooks b Joseph 0K. Asalanka lbw b Cornwall 1N. Dickwella not out 38Extras: (b-8, lb-4, nb-1) 13Total: (4 wkts, 40 overs) 128Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-32, 3-36, 4-37.Bowling: Roach 8-3-18-1, Johnson 8-3-25-0, Cornwall 14-3-38-1, Joseph 4-1-4-2 (nb-1), Motie-Kanhai 6-0-31-0.Position: Sri Lanka A trail by 381 runs with six wickets intact.Toss: Sri Lanka A.Umpires: N. de Silva, R. Kottahachchi.