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2010 Science News of the Year: Body & Brain

David Vetter as todler in bubble with toys.
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Gene therapy moves forward
Despite their promise, technologies to correct defective genes have been plagued by safety problems leading to unintended — and sometimes fatal — outcomes. But scientists are inching toward safer, more effective gene therapies that may one day treat a range of diseases, from psychiatric disorders to autoimmune diseases to cancers.

Studies in animals and isolated cells in the lab are showing promise. In mice, correcting gene function reverses depression-like behaviors (SN: 11/20/10, p. 14), blindness (SN: 7/17/10, p. 11) and type 1 diabetes.

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