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Genetically Engineered Stem Cells Save a Patient


The work of the doctors here reads like something straight out of Science Fiction:

The cells were placed into culture and infected with a genetically engineered virus. The virus contained a copy of the specific gene damaged in the patient, along with a DNA sequence that ensured the gene would be active in any cell it was placed into. After infection, the virus’ DNA was integrated into the cells’ DNA, allowing it to be inherited each time they divided.

Even more so given the nature of the disease they’re fighting, which sounds like the stuff of nightmares:

The epidermis contains the cells that form our body’s boundary with the outside world; in epidermolysis bullosa, they lose their ability to hold on to the cells underneath them. Small scratches that healthy people wouldn’t notice cause the skin to blister off, leaving these patients prone to infection[…] More than 40 percent of those afflicted don’t even survive to adolescence.