New gene-switching method may transform disease treatment

A new way of turning genes on and off, pioneered by a Nobel prize-winning British scientist, is promising to transform treatment of conditions such as HIV/Aids, heart disease and diabetes. Named zinc-finger proteins, after the metal that holds them together and the way in which they grasp DNA. Sangamo BioSciences (SGMO NASDAQ), a company in California, has already developed several drugs based on the principle. The beauty of zinc-finger nucleases lies in their simplicity. Where other methods are long, arduous and often messy, it is relatively easy to switch off genes using this method. The zinc-finger design allows us to target a single gene, while the nuclease disrupts the gene.” Details of the technique are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

How zinc-finger proteins treat illness by aiming at a single gene - Times Online

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