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[IP] One-pill cure may offer hope for hereditary illnesses



Here's a news clipping about whether they may be a one-pill cure for some
illnesses in the future. It certainly sounds interesting, but I'm not
holding my breath.

Bernard

New one-pill cures may offer hope for hereditary illnesses
Copyright _ 1998 Reuters News Service
WELLINGTON (October 5, 1998 02:08 a.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) -
Hemophiliacs, diabetics and people with inherited obesity all might be able
to benefit from a new way of treating genetic disorders using a single pill,
developed in New Zealand.

An Auckland School of Medicine team, led by Professor Matthew During, has
perfected a one-dose pill to cure rats of the world's most common genetic
disorder, lactose intolerance.

There is hope that similar methods could be used to treat a range of human
diseases.

"This research brings gene therapy one step closer to the clinic," said
During.

"Delivery of the gene has always been the problem, but this research makes
it feasible that we could give gene therapy orally -- in a pill."

The research, featured in the October issue of the international journal
Nature Medicine, cleared the way for the development of a new generation of
treatments for genetic disorders, Auckland University said.

"It is hoped the technology will be used to combat inherited conditions such
as hemophilia, diabetes and obesity within the next decade," the university
said.

During, a molecular biologist, attached a gene responsible for production of
a lactose digesting enzyme to a virus found naturally in the stomach of the
rats.

The b-galactosidase gene became incorporated into the cells lining the rats'
gastrointestinal tract, allowing them to metabolize lactose.

Six months later, the rats remained lactose tolerant, suggesting that a one
dose pill may be used to treat the same disorder in humans in the
not-too-distant future.

"There are questions related to the long-term safety of gene delivery which
still need to be addressed, but we believe that the technology will lead to
the development of a single-shot oral vaccine in the future," During said.

Lactose intolerance affected over half the world's population, who were at
risk of calcium deficiency because of their inability to digest dairy
products.

A patent resulting from the research was held by Yale University where
During carried out much of his early research.

The possible lactose treatment had been licensed to a commercial developer
and the team was now moving on to widening the potential application of the
breakthrough to other genetic disorders, During said.

Genes were being sought that would be helpful in treating diabetes, obesity
and hemophilia, and there might also be applications in treating intestinal
cancers, he said.

"If there was a hereditary cancer related to a gene mutation you could
potentially put in the healthy copy of the gene and try to target those
cancer cells."

This is to be pursued with another team of New Zealand researchers
investigating stomach cancers.

By RODNEY JOYCE, Reuters



Insulin-Pumpers website http://www.bizsystems.com/Diabetes/