Developing enabling technology for emerging gene therapies

For years, researchers have attempted to harness the full potential of gene therapy, a technique that inserts genes into a patient’s cells to treat cancer and other diseases. However, inserting engineered DNA molecules into cells is difficult. A team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a new method that could make the process easier.

New technology may reduce deadly complication of bone marrow transplants

Researchers led by John F. DiPersio, MD, PhD, at the School of Medicine have designed a way to mitigate graft-versus-host disease, a common and often life-threatening complication of bone marrow transplants that are used to treat leukemia and other blood cancers. The method also employs a molecular imaging tool to help doctors identify patients most likely to develop this dangerous condition.

Gene therapy method targets tumor blood vessels

Working in mice, School of Medicine researchers report developing a gene delivery method long sought in the field of gene therapy: a deactivated virus carrying a gene of interest that can be injected into the bloodstream and make its way to the right cells. In this proof-of-concept study, they targeted tumor blood vessels in mice without affecting healthy tissues.