Gene silencing technique for curing diseaseGene silencing technique offers new strategy for treating, curing disease
DALLAS - July 31, 2005 - A new technique aimed at directly controlling the expression of genes by turning them on or off at the DNA level could lead to drugs for the treatment or cure of many diseases, say researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
"Virtually every disease starts at the level of malfunctioning gene expression, or viral or bacterial gene expression," said Dr. David Corey, professor of pharmacology and biochemistry. "This is an approach that could theoretically produce a drug for the treatment or cure of almost any disease."
In two papers appearing in the online edition of the journal Nature Chemical Biology, Dr. Corey and his colleagues describe how they efficiently shut down gene expression in cultured cells by blocking the ability of chromosomal DNA to be copied into RNA and made into proteins. The studies, which Dr. Corey said represent the most significant findings thus far in his career, are the most definitive to date showing that chromosomal DNA is accessible to and can be controlled by synthetic and natural molecules.
"The experiments worked beautifully," he said. "It's hard to believe that this strategy would work so well if nature wasn't doing it already."
Gene silencing technique offers new strategy for treating, curing disease