Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Remotely activated genes by radio waves in mice

Using radio waves scientists have succeeded to trigger the expression of a gene within a living animal, so maybe in the future we will be able to activate genes by a remote control?
This study shows the proof of principle that such manipulation is possible. They used iron oxide nanoparticles that can be heated by radio waves and coated them with an antibody against a temperature sensitive calcium channel. They injected the nanoparticles into tumors grown under the skin of mice. Nanoparticles attached to the calcium channels and in response to radio waves they heated the channel molecules to their activation temperature of 42 C. The channels opened and subsequent influx of calcium activated engineered calcium sensitive insulin gene within the cells. Insulin was produced and secreted from the cells and a drop in glucose levels in mice was observed.

Link:
http://www.nature.com/news/remote-controlled-genes-trigger-insulin-production-1.10585
Article:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22556257?dopt=Abstract&holding=npg

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Will we be able to prolong our lifespan for ~24% using gene therapy?

Recent study has reported that gene therapy with a virus vector containing a gene for the enzyme telomerase was able to extend the life of treated adult mice up to 24%. Unlike mice treated with virus vectors with the telomerase gene, the control groups of mice (those treated with an empty vector or a GFP-containing vector) did not show such extension of the life span.
We might speculate that we will be able to use the same approach in the future to extend our life span.

Link:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514204050.htm
Original article:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/emmm.201200245/pdf