Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Color Blindness Cured points to technique for Autoimmune Cure

In Florida researchers have used a virus to ferry in a gene to allow red/green color blind monkeys to see those the entire normal monkey and human color spectrum.

This same technology should allow the transfer of genes into humans. The same virus, adeno associated virus, has been used for at least a decade for gene transfers including very large genes which could cure (yes, cure) a host of genetic diseases--muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, and all autoimmune disease.

My interest is autoimmune disease due to my son. There are a number of gene candidates that could be transferred into the cells in our bone marrow that make our blood and immune cells. The genes for IL-10. Variants of the FOXP3 gene found in healthy folks without autoimmune and allergy/asthma problems are another candidate. Other genes are possible as well.

What we need is a facility, free from all possibility of law suits, free of all FDA stupid bureaucratic clinical trial rules, free of competition between different companies and researchers.

This place should be a WIKI place where all drug companies and researchers share their ideas as a group. Where they all also share in any profits that come as a result of any group's discovery. Where ALL researchers eat together and meet together to share ideas of what is working.

It should be a place where patients can come and have the ability to try anything that might help them. No rules EXCEPT complete transparency and complete openness. NO secrets allowed. Nothing held back. Every patient encouraged to go online daily and tell exactly how they feel about their treatments and doctors without any censorship or fear of retaliation (Possibly only published after the patient is cures, quits treatment or dies).

I am convinced that if we, the sick, and their relatives were allowed to create a place of total freedom for research cures for most of the great genetic disease would come in months. Of course, my dream has no chance. Too many people with power at too many corporations make too much money off of people suffering under the current system.

If we cannot even get Medicare for all in the US due to polarization created by big money buying radio and TV con men as spokesman to rile up the mob, we have no chance of a place for quick cures using WIKI type organization. Too bad.

Enough editorialising.

Here is the color blind cure article:

Scientists cure color blindness in monkeys

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Florida used gene therapy to cure two squirrel monkeys of color blindness — the most common genetic disorder in people.

Writing online Wednesday in the journal Nature, scientists cast a rosy light on the potential for gene therapy to treat adult vision disorders involving cone cells — the most important cells for vision in people.

"We've added red sensitivity to cone cells in animals that are born with a condition that is exactly like human color blindness," said William W. Hauswirth, Ph.D., a professor of ophthalmic molecular genetics at the UF College of Medicine and a member of the UF Genetics Institute and the Powell Gene Therapy Center. "Although color blindness is only moderately life-altering, we've shown we can cure a cone disease in a primate, and that it can be done very safely. That's extremely encouraging for the development of therapies for human cone diseases that really are blinding."

The finding is also likely to intrigue millions of people around the world who are colorblind, including about 3.5 million people in the United States, more than 13 million in India and more than 16 million in China. The problem mostly affects men, leaving about 8 percent of Caucasian men in the United States incapable of discerning red and green hues that are important for everyday things like recognizing traffic lights.

"People who are colorblind feel that they are missing out," said Jay Neitz, Ph.D., a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Washington. "If we could find a way to do this with complete safety in human eyes, as we did with monkeys, I think there would be a lot of people who would want it. Beyond that, we hope this technology will be useful in correcting lots of different vision disorders."

The discovery comes about 10 years after Neitz and his wife Maureen Neitz, Ph.D., a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Washington and senior author of the study, began training two squirrel monkeys named Dalton and Sam.

In addition to teaching the animals, the Neitz research group worked with the makers of a standard vision-testing technique called the Cambridge Colour Test to perfect a way the monkeys could "tell" them which colors they were seeing.

The tests are similar to ones given to elementary children the world over, in which students are asked to identify a specific pattern of colored dots among a field of dots that vary in size, color and intensity. The researchers devised a computer touch screen the monkeys could use to trace the color patterns. When the animals chose correctly, they received a reward of grape juice.

The rest of the article can be found at the URL at the beginning of this post.

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