[Previous Months][Date Index][Thread Index][Join - Register][Login]
[Message Prev][Message Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

[IP] New report on another genetic 'cure' for diabetes

From: http://www.msnbc.com/news/359617.asp

Scientists flip a genetic toggle switch

Technique could be applied to medicine and nanorobotics

By Alan Boyle

Jan. 19 — Scientists have engineered what they call the first genetic “toggle
switch” that can be used for a variety of applications. They say the technique
could open the way for custom-built cells that would automatically give
diabetics a shot of insulin when it’s needed, or let researchers turn living
cells into tiny robots.

        THE BASIC IDEA behind gene switching is that the activity of a
particular gene can be turned “on” or “off” through chemical or thermal
changes. Developing reliable genetic switches could revolutionize medical
therapies: To take an extreme case, you might be able to design a gene that
starts making chemotherapy drugs if it detects a cancerous cell.
       Several researchers have already found specialized “gene circuits” that
turn on or off in the presence of certain chemicals. But the new research,
described in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature, involves a more general
technique for designing genes that can be flipped on or off as the result of a
brief stimulus — like flipping a light switch.

         The next step, Gardner said, was to extend the technique to produce
“a genetic sensor with an adjustable threshold — a system in which genes are
activated or repressed when a specific threshold is reached.”
       The team is already working on a genetic sensor for glucose, which
could be used in the treatment of diabetes. In the first stages, the sensor
could turn a patch of skin a different color when blood glucose reached a
certain level, alerting patients to take their insulin.
       “We could have proof of principle within a year and a half,” Collins
       Eventually, the technology could lead to the development of an
artificial pancreas, a package of cells that would secrete insulin
automatically in response to sensor readings, he said.

 This message sent to you from the desk of
  Yerachmiel Bruchya haLevi Altman's computer.

for HELP or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org
send a DONATION http://www.Insulin-Pumpers.org/donate.shtml