CLEARING a blocked coronary artery, ensuring that it doesn't clog up again, and engendering collateral blood vessels for extra circulatory protection may all become one simple procedure when gene therapy is applied to the human heart.
This is one near-future possibility sketched by Jeffrey M. Leiden, MD, PhD, chief of cardiology, University of Chicago (Ill) Pritzker School of Medicine, at the 65th annual scientific sessions of the American Heart Association, in New Orleans, La.
Somatic Gene Therapy
Leiden, who is also professor of medicine and pathology, and his colleagues are among the pioneers of somatic gene therapy for cardiovascular disease. Somatic gene therapy, in which normal copies of genes are introduced into the appropriate cells of an individual to treat a specific disorder by replacing abnormal genes, can be thought of as just a new type of pharmacologic treatment.It carries none of the ethical burden of germ-line gene therapy,