Polymers might make gene therapy safer
Published: 10, 2007 at 12:47 PM
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., 10 (UPI) — U.S. scientists have developed a method that improves the ability of biodegradable polymers to perform gene therapy.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers said their technology could lead to safe and effective techniques for gene therapy, which involves inserting new genes into patients’ cells to fight diseases such as cancer.
The scientists said gene therapy, while holding great promise, has yet to realize its potential in part because of safety concerns over the conventional technique of using viruses to carry the genes.
The new MIT work focuses on creating gene carriers from synthetic, non-viral materials.
“What we wanted to do is start with something that’s very safe — a biocompatible, degradable polymer — and try to make it more effective, instead of starting with a virus and trying to make it safer,” said Jordan Green, a graduate student in biological engineering and co-author of the paper with former graduate student Gregory Zugates.
The study, led by Daniel Anderson, a research associate in MIT’s Center for Cancer Research, appears in the journal Advanced Materials.