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UF researchers score gene therapy advance: Animal study shows high blood pressure prevented in future generations

f these sites. They then packaged the genetic material into a virus modified so it wouldn't cause illness and injected it into the rats. The virus, acting much like a car delivering passengers to a destination, transported the genetic material into the rats' cells, instructing them to halt production of the hormone's receptor sites.

Gelband noted that unlike most other viruses tested in gene therapy, the one UF researchers used appears to act differently once it enters a cell's nucleus, the cell's "command post."

"We've shown that our vehicle for the gene therapy, a retrovirus, actually integrates into the animals' DNA, and this may be the reason why it gets passed on to the next generations," Gelband said.

While UF researchers heralded the therapy's advantages, they also struck a cautionary note: All gene therapies have to be carefully scrutinized to see what effects gene transfer has on the genetic characteristics of subsequent generations.

"We as scientists have got to be very careful," Raizada said. "What are the physiological consequences? We must not predispose ourselves to thinking there are no side effects to permanent changes, and we should always guard for that."


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Contact: Melanie Fridl Ross
ufcardiac@aol.com
352-690-7051
University of Florida
10-Nov-1999


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