Gene therapy super drug could combat diabetes

Mon, 03 Jul 2006
Scientists in Australia, working from the University of New South Wales, have developed a new superdrug that could one day beat a range of serious illnesses. These, according to the researchers, could include heart disease, arthritis, cancer and diabetes.

The team have applied their therapy, known as Dz13, to skin cancer with effective results. Blindness, heart attacks and inflammation could all fall within the target illnesses of the drug.

The therapy has been published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, and targets a gene called c-Jun, which is often found in diseased areas of the body. The drug was described as a ‘molecular assassin’ by one biologist professor. Prof. Khachigian that Dz13 was "our experimental drug Dz13 is like a secret agent that finds its target, c-Jun, within the cell and destroys it."

The other genes that c-Jun controls did not therefore begin to operate, and any emerging disease was effectively assassinated. Animal trials have been successful, but the overall results of the discovery remain to be seen. Other leading experts called the development a breakthrough, with Professor Bernard Stewart calling it: "It's simple to design drugs on paper that will stop any one of the tens, if not hundreds, of genes that are known to be wrong in cancer." However, in practice the process has proved elusive. The discovery is a great hope for the future.
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