Archive for the biotechnology Category

Origins of life may lie in electrochemical processes

Posted in biotechnology on November 10, 2009 by ewakening

A few bioscientists in recent years have been rethinking the origin of life in the light of some new ideas. They think the most counter-intuitive trait of life is one of the best clues to its origin. As a result, they have come up with a radically different picture of what the earliest life was like and where it evolved. It’s a picture for which there is growing evidence. Life, the new idea argues, is powered not by the kind of chemistry that goes on in a test tube but by a kind of electricity.

Repair your brain . . . with gene therapy!

Posted in biotechnology, brain, genetics, healing on June 22, 2007 by ewakening

Researchers inject viruses into brains of Parkinsons’ sufferers to retrain neurons

A major worldwide breakthrough in gene therapy was signalled last night after injections into the brain were used for the first time to successfully treat a degenerative brain disease.

In a pioneering study, researchers used the treatment to bring about significant improvements in the mobility of Parkinson’s sufferers. They said it could also herald a breakthrough in the treatment of other neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s or epilepsy.

The study, begun in 2003, was carried out on 11 men and one woman with an average age of 58, who had all had severe Parkinson’s for at least five years and for whom current therapies were no longer effective.

They were given injections of billions of copies of a genetically altered virus into part of the brain called the subthalamic nucleus.

The altered virus carried the human gene for an enzyme, called GAD, which helps to make GABA. Once implanted, brain cells of the patients started to make the GABA chemical.