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Gene dispensers

3:16pm, April 10, 2007

From Chicago, at the American Chemical Society Meeting

Researchers have developed a new means for transferring genes to treat diseases. The gene therapy method relies on a nanoscale architecture with many alternating layers of polyester and DNA. Once this material is inside the body, water degrades the polyester layer by layer, for a slow, controlled release of genetic material to nearby tissues.

The technology has shown preliminary success in transferring genes both to isolated cells grown in the lab and blood vessels in rabbits, reports David M. Lynn of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Key to the new system are novel, water-soluble polyesters that carry a net positive charge across their surfaces. Thin films of the material make ideal platforms for negatively charged DNA molecules.

The multilayered-film strategy could be useful in arterial stents, says Lynn. Surgeons mechanically unclog arteries and then use the tiny mesh tubes to prop o

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