Science Questions

What about the epigenetic effects of gene therapy?

Sun, 30th Oct 2011

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Question

Ronald Rudolph asked:

What do epigenetics mean for stem cell therapy? It's not just the genome that seems to count but also the expression of it through epigenetics as far I understand.

Answer

We posed this question to Professor Adrian Thrasher from Great Ormand Street Hospital and University College London...

Adrian -   Epigenetics is increasingly important in our understanding of how genes work.  It regulates in some ways how the genes are turned on or off, itís important through developmental processes.  Itís important in adult cells, in foetal cells.  Itís also important in gene therapy because we know if  we don't get the sequences right,  the genes can become epigenetically modified. Ė so may switch off unexpectedly which is undesirable.  It may switch on unexpectedly which is also undesirable.  So the epigenetics is important.  There's a lot of ongoing work.

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