A recently built system for switching on the activity of genes might improve treatments for a broad range of neurological diseases. Esteban Engel, a researcher in viral neuro-engineering in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, and his team have developed new gene promoters—which act like switches to turn on gene expression—that promise to broaden the flexibility to deliver large genes and keep them active for long durations of time.
The analysis was featured online this week in the journal Molecular Therapy: Methods & Clinical Development.
The crew is developing these genetic switches to be used in gene remedy, the practice of delivering new genes to interchange or assist ones which can be defective. Gene remedy is a promising strategy for a lot of illnesses, including problems that contain the brain, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s illness.
To carry genes into cells, scientists take advantage of the fact that viruses come geared up with the machinery to gain entry to cells. Over the years, scientists have developed viruses to deliver genes in methods that are safe and don’t cause illness.
Engel and his staff created new gene promoters that turn on genes after they’ve been transported into neurons—the cells of the brain and nervous system.
The crew designed their promoters by adopting attributes of promoters found in another class of viruses, the herpes viruses, which persist for years in the body by showing a chronic infection in the nervous system.