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Dr. Mitalipov and team develop gene therapy method to prevent some inherited diseases

Researchers at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) believe they have developed one of the first forms of genetic therapy – a therapy aimed at preventing serious diseases in unborn children. Specifically, the therapy would combat inherited diseases passed on from mothers to their children through mutated DNA in cell mitochondria. The research is published in the Aug. 26 advance online edition of the journal Nature and will appear in a print edition of the journal at a later date.   

"We believe this discovery in nonhuman primates can rapidly be translated into human therapies aimed at preventing inherited disorders passed from mothers to their children through the mitochondrial DNA, such as certain forms of cancer, diabetes, infertility, myopathies and neurodegenerative diseases," explained Shoukhrat Mitalipov, PhD, an associate scientist in the Division of Reproductive Sciences at ONPRC, the Oregon Stem Cell Center and the School of Medicine Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Molecular & Medical Genetics. "Currently there are 150 known diseases caused by mutations of the mitochondrial DNA, and approximately 1 out of every 200 children is born with mitochondrial mutations." 

To read the complete OHSU media release, click here. To check out a sampling of the worldwide media coverage, read the BBC article here. 309 local, national and worldwide media stories and counting.

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