23.4 C
Houston
Sunday, February 28, 2021

Clinical Trial of Gene Therapy for Sickle Cell Halted

A clinical trial of a new gene therapy for sickle cell disease that’s shown promise has been halted after two participants were diagnosed with cancer.

Therapy developer Bluebird Bio said a patient who was treated five years ago developed myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of cancer that’s often a precursor to leukemia, while another developed acute myeloid leukemia, The New York Times reported.

Though it isn’t yet clear what caused the cancers, one possibility is that the disabled virus used to deliver the gene therapy damaged crucial DNA in blood-forming cells in the patients’ bone marrows. That would be the worst-case scenario, said Dr. John Tisdale, head of the cellular and molecular therapeutics branch at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

But there is also the likelihood that both cancers were caused by a powerful drug, busulfan, which is used to clear bone marrow to make space for new cells modified by gene therapy. Busulfan is known to raise blood cancer risk, Tisdale noted.

- Advertisement -

Muddying the issue even further is the fact that people with sickle cell disease are known to have an increased risk of leukemia, even without treatment. Still, no one would expect two patients in a small trial to get the disease, the Times said.

The news is a disappointment for those who hoped a cure for sickle cell disease — which mainly affects Black Americans — was on the way.

“It feels like the sickle cell disease community just can never get a break,” Dr. Melissa J. Frei-Jones, a researcher at the University of Texas School of Medicine in San Antonio, told the Times.

“My other concern is that the Black community will lose faith or trust in research studies again after it has taken the medical community so long to even regain some degree of trust,” she added.

Newsmax

Latest news

Britain must grant refugee status to Uyghur Muslims

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his ministers have offered aid to residents of Hong...

Iran Formally Rejects Offer Of Direct EU-Brokered Nuclear Talks With Biden Admin

Iran on Sunday issued a firm and definitive rejection of the Biden administration's offer of European Union sponsored direct nuclear talks to restore the...

Covid Hypocrite Gavin Newsom eats in restaurant HE bans from indoor dining, gets CAUGHT by… HIM?

Nobody ever accused Gavin Newsom of being a genius. Literally nobody. Ever. Has ever ever accused him of that. Not even him. But that...

George Gascon facing recall after hiring anti-police prosecutor

George Gascón, the Soros-backed Los Angeles district attorney, is facing scrutiny over his extremely progressive criminal justice reforms and the recent hiring of a...

Related news

Growing evidence that coronavirus vaccines stop transmission promises return to normal

The news about coronavirus vaccines and infection continues to improve. ...

Kamala Harris is facing the consequences of her dangerous anti-vaccine rhetoric

For months, health experts warned that distributing the coronavirus vaccines would be the...

FDA experts recommend Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, setting up imminent authorization

A panel of vaccine experts has voted unanimously to recommend authorization of Johnson...

Owner of luxury linen company Kearsley knows how to survive tough times

For Heather Wolf, 2019 was proving to be a big year for her business,...

Serious cases of reinfection in nursing homes suggests immunity in seniors might not last, CDC says

Five seniors in a Kentucky nursing home who'd previously been diagnosed with COVID-19...

Kamala Harris describes coronavirus vaccine side effects for first time

Vice President Kamala Harris described for the first time the side effects she experienced...

Pfizer testing third dose of vaccine to protect against coronavirus variants

Pfizer has announced that it will be testing a third dose of its coronavirus...