Gene Therapy safety issues arise again and again

by Alexey Bersenev on February 7, 2008 · 0 comments

in clinical trials and cases

I can’t miss this brief article from ScienceNow:

The announcement last month that a fifth child who received gene therapy for an immune system disease has developed leukemia was the latest blow to the field of gene therapy.

A new wave of the discussion about safety of viral gene vectors blows up in December 2007, when a SCID-patient – a 3 year old boy develops leukemia after 2 years of experimental gene therapy in a London hospital, UK.

The treatment had a down side, however: Since 2002, four of 10 children in a French trial for a form of SCID involving a defect on the X chromosome (X-SCID) have developed leukemia, apparently because the retrovirus used to insert a curative gene into patients’ blood stem cells turned on a cancer gene.

Scientists have been trying to find a new solution again and again, offer new safer viral vectors…
But after all of this, is the “era of viral gene vectors” in clinical trials still on?

Nevertheless, in some circumstances i’d agree with professor Leonard Seymour:

Leonard Seymour, professor of gene therapies at the University of Oxford, said the latest case showed the need to balance the risks for patients, given that gene therapy is often the only hope.

In the recent report published in the january issue of the “Human Gene Therapy” journal

James M. Wilson,MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief and Head of the Gene Therapy Program, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in Philadelphia, calls on the gene therapy, regulatory, and research communities to re-explore the issue of informed consent as it relates to the safety of viral vector-based gene transfer therapies and the appropriateness of having physicians and others with an interest in the trials and their outcomes recruit patients and obtain the necessary informed consent.

Gene Therapy Cancers Prompt Design of Safer Virus
ScienceNow. 10 Jan., 2008.
Debate over Safety of Gene Therapy Trials Focuses on Issue of Informed Consent

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