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Newsletter November 2014

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News: Correcting the genetic error in sickle-cell disease might be as simple as amending text
Tiny changes in DNA can have huge consequences. For years, scientists have been trying to 'fix' these mutations in the hope of treating and potentially curing some of humanity's most devastating genetic diseases. After some tragic early setbacks (see Nature 420, 116–118; 2002), techniques that allow precise genetic manipulation have created a surge of research.
Although most existing treatments for genetic diseases typically only target symptoms, genetic manipulation or 'gene therapy' goes after the cause itself. The approach involves either inserting a functional gene into DNA or editing a faulty one that is already there, so the conditions most likely to prove curable are those caused by a single mutation. Sickle-cell disease is a perfect candidate: it is caused by a change in just one amino acid at a specific site in the β-globin gene. This results in the production of abnormal haemoglobin proteins that cause the red blood cells that house them to twist and become sickle shaped. The distorted cells get sticky, adhere to each other and block blood vessels, preventing oxygenated blood from flowing through.


News: Popular lectures on gene therapy
Maria Konovalenko and team put together a list of popular science video lectures on gene therapy – one of the most promising molecular medicine directions. What makes this approach different is that nucleic acid molecules, DNA and RNA, are used as therapeutic agents.

New website: Ebola Virus Net
The webmaster of Gene Therapy Net is proud to announce a new website: Ebola Virus Net is the web resource for anyone interested in ebola. The objectives of Ebola Virus Net are to be the public and professional information resource for ebola and to serve as a network in the exchange of information and news related to ebola.
Ebola (Ebola hemorrhagic fever), is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. There are five identified Ebolavirus species, four of which have caused disease in humans. Ebola is found in several African countries. The first Ebola species was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa. When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread to others through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, or through contact with objects that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. Currently there are no specific vaccines or medicines that have been proven to be effective against Ebola.


- 19 – 21 November 2014, 12th Annual Gene Therapy Symposium for Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases,Sonoma, California
- 26 - 28 January 2015, Phacilitate 11th Annual Cell & Gene Therapy Forum 2015, Washington DC, MD
- 26 -28 February 2015, 211th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Gene Therapy (DG-GT e.V.), Vienna, Austria
- 19 - 20 March 2015, French Society of Cell and Gene Therapy (SFTCG) Annual Congress, Paris, France
- 30 March - 3 April 2015, EMBO workshop: Modern DNA concepts and tools for safe gene transfer and modification, Evry, France
- 29 April – 1 May 2015, 9th Australasian Gene Therapy Society Meeting (AGTS), Melbourne, Australia
- 13 - 16 May 2015, American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) 18th Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana
- 27 - 30 May 2015, International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) 21th Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV
- 9 - 11 June 2015, Annual conference of the British Society for Gene Therapy (BSGT), Glasgow, UK
- 21 - 26 June 2015, Gordon Research Conference: Virusses & Cells, Girona, Spain
- 24 – 26 July 2015, The 21th Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Gene Therapy (JSGT), Osaka, Japan
- 10 – 12 August 2015, 4th International Conference and Exhibition on Cell & Gene Therapy, London, UK
- 17 – 20 September 2015, XXIII Congress of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ESGCT) and the Finnish Society of Gene Therapy, Helsinki, Finland
- 4 – 6 November 2015, 8th Congress of the Spanish Society of Gene (SETGyC) and Cell Therapy, San Sebastian, Spain
- March 2016, French Society of Cell and Gene Therapy (SFTCG) Annual Congress, Marseille, France
- 4 - 7 May 2016, American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) 19th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC
- 28 – 30 July 2016, The 22th Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Gene Therapy (JSGT), Venue to be determined, Japan
- 18 – 21 October 2016, XXIV Congress of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ESGCT) and the International Society for Stem Cell Research, Florence, Italy


Gene Therapy Net is the information resource for basic and clinical research in gene therapy, and the site serves as a network in the exchange of gene therapy information and breaking news items. Visitors can keep track of the latest scientific papers, conference announcements, gene therapy jobs, regulations and guidelines. Other information websites created and maintained by the owner of Gene Therapy Net are Dengue Virus Net, Influenza Virus Net, Ebola Virus Net and Chikungunya Virus Net.
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