Drugs activate dormant gene

Chemotherapy agent may offer hope for treating Angelman syndrome

By Tina Hesman Saey, 17:11 PM December 21, 2011

By kick-starting a gene that is naturally inactivated, chemotherapy drugs could help reverse a genetic brain disorder that is sometimes mistaken for autism or cerebral palsy. The unexpected finding may also spark a new avenue of research on a type of gene regulation known as imprinting.

The genetic disorder, Angelman syndrome, occurs in about one in 15,000 live births. It is caused when the copy of a gene called UBE3A inherited from the mother goes missing or is damaged by a mutation. That’...

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