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June 04, 2006

Follow up more cancer treatment and gene therapy progress

Results of a multi-center clinical study of a drug (Pfizer's oral drug, sunitinib malate) currently approved for treatment of kidney cancer indicate that it may also be effective for people with recurrent and advanced lung cancer.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers have successfully used gene therapy to accelerate muscle regeneration in experimental animals with muscle damage, suggesting this technique may be a novel and effective approach for improving skeletal muscle healing, particularly for serious sports-related injuries. Skeletal muscle injuries are the most common injuries encountered in sports medicine. Although such injuries can heal spontaneously, scar tissue formation, or fibrosis, can significantly impede this process, resulting in incomplete functional recovery. gene-therapy treated cells will continue to overproduce myostatin propeptide for at least two years. This could significantly reduce the amount of time an athlete needs to recover and result in a more complete recovery.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers have successfully protected mice against the damaging effects that radiation can have on bone marrow using gene therapy. Based on these results, the researchers believe this approach may be able to protect first responders in the event of a radiological accident or the detonation of a crude radiological weapon, or "dirty bomb." I note that it could also help people who would travel in space and have higher radiation exposure.

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