NIH awarded researchers at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) a $1.7 million grant over four years to progress development of a nonviral gene therapy approach that uses ultrasound to deliver DNA directly to target cells. The funds will support the use of ultrasound-assisted gene transfer in animals as a treatment for xerostomia, a complication of radiation therapy for head and neck cancer resulting from irreparable damage to salivary glands, which causes dry mouth and speech, chewing, and swallowing problems.
The AGH team hopes their studies confirm that the approach can bypass problems associated with viral vector-based methods of gene delivery, which tend to be short-lived due to the body’s immune response. “What we are trying to do is avoid the use of viruses altogether by focusing instead on a more mechanical approach to facilitating the gene transfer,” comments lead researchers Michael Passineau, Ph.D., director of the gene therapy program at AGH’s Allegheny Singer Research Institute (ASRI).
View the original article here: NIH Funds Gene Therapy Using Ultrasound – Genetic Engineering News