), an emerging international biotechnology provider of cell and gene therapy solutions through its associate
, announced today a significant advance in gene therapy with a new, unique, and specialized system for induction of gene expression in encapsulated cells.
In a recent publication in the
Journal of Controlled Release
, SG Austria and its research partners described a new system for induction of gene expression, or the means for stimulating a gene to be expressed within cells, including those that have been encapsulated and implanted in the body.
The process described in the publication involves the stimulation of pre-programmed living cells, encapsulated using the
, to express therapeutic genes under the control of a heat shock protein inducible promoter. This is done by simultaneously co-encapsulating pre-programmed cells and magnetic nanoparticles, which are much smaller than the cells. When subjected to an alternating magnetic field, the magnetic nanoparticles inside the capsules vibrate, producing heat. This results in a localized, temporary increase in temperature inside the capsules. This heat causes specialized heat shock proteins in the cells to
induce expression of the therapeutic gene(s)
Although both cell and gene therapies have an enormous range of potential applications, a critical issue in modern molecular biology has been to be able to regulate and control gene expression. Therefore, many systems have been created to regulate gene expression. Those gene expression systems currently available mostly rely on small molecules such as hormones or antibiotics as inducers. Unfortunately, administration of some of these inducers is difficult to control, the effects on gene regulation are typically slow, and they do not easily shut off once turned on. The new system developed by SG Austria and its partners will allow doctors in the future to more accurately control both dosage and the synthesis of specific proteins for treating a disease.