X-Message-Number: 2525
From:  (Nick Szabo)
Subject: CRYONICS: Gene therapy
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 1994 04:43:13 -0800 (PST)

On the sci.cryonics newsgroup the issue of gene therapy was
brought up.  This may potentially be a quite fruitful area
for cryonics. The biotech community is now working on inserting 
genes into brain cells that will manufacture chemicals lost in Alzheimer's 
and Huntington's disease.  Once those techniques are perfected, it may
be only a small step (in biotech terms), $10-$100 million worth of 
R&D, to develop gene therapy that makes brain cells produce the 
cryoprotectant proteins found in freezing frogs or other cryoprotected 
creatures.  This might be useful not only for cryonics, but also for 
organ transplant storage.  Gene therapy might also provide anti-oxidants 
targeted specifically at the brain ischemia that occurs during the dying 
process, and at the reperfusion ischemia that occurs upon thawing of frozen
organs.  (The reperfusion ischemia, not freezing damage, is the
main barrier to using cryopreservation for organ transplantation
in many cases).

The gene therapy is accomplished by designing viruses that can invade 
neural cells and insert DNA, but do not reproduce like normal viruses.  
These viruses are then injected into the brain's bloodstream and the DNA 
is inserted by the pseudo-viruses into the target cells.  The cell's
enzymes translate the DNA to MRNA, thence via the cell's ribosome
to the desired new proteins.

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