Gene therapy helps counter hemophilia B | Science News



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Gene therapy helps counter hemophilia B

Enabling cells to make a clotting compound allows some patients to quit medication

1:38pm, December 13, 2011

A gene therapy based on a cargo-toting virus that gravitates to liver cells might provide hemophilia B patients with long-lasting protection against bleeding, an international team of scientists reports online December 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Hemophilia B is the second-most common form of hemophilia, a hereditary disorder in which blood fails to clot properly. Patients must receive preventive injections of a clotting compound called factor IX to prevent bleeding from cuts, scratches or bruises. In the new study, four of six hemophilia B patients given the gene therapy no longer need the clotting compound.

The work “is truly a landmark study, since it is the first to achieve long-term expression of a blood protein at therapeutically relevant levels,” physician Katherine Ponder of Washington University in St. Louis, who wasn’t part of the study team, wrote in the same issue of the journal. The findings were also presente

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