More Cell Reprogramming Going On

In previous posts[1][2] I mused over recent advances in cell reprogramming. Causing one type of cell to turn in to another type of cell. Without having stem cells involved.

Well today I read another article in Science Daily entitled: “Reprogrammed cells grow into new blood vessels” and researchers have done it once again. This time they changed fibroblasts (scar tissue cells) into endothelial (blood vessel wall lining) cells. And they did it using chemical messaging with RNA molecules.

The ‘gene therapy’ area these researchers are in had previously achieved this result using a virus to deliver a genetic reprogramming molecule into the cell. But using a virus can have problems and this approach does not employ a virus. Instead cause the fibroblast cells to react to a fake virus infection by exposing the cells to a double stranded RNA molecule. When that happened there was a reorganization of nuclear Chromatin and that caused a change in DNA expression. Previously unexpressed (in fibroblasts) sections of DNA are now being used and that leads the cells to a different ‘fate’.

They are getting a 2% response rate which is comparable with studies using viruses. They think they can achieve 15%. Which might mean an effective and safer gene therapy. Which might also lead to other types of cells being produced.

It’s all about getting the cell’s DNA reading / expressing machinery to read from different places in the ‘book’ at the right times.

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