The US Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act has passed both the Senate and the House and should be on its way to George Bush's desk soon. Science has a Q&A with Representative Louise Slaughter, who first introduced the bill in 1995. Slaughter says that with GINA, "people will not be afraid to allow themselves to be part of a research program because they will know it will not affect their employment or insurance."
Safety trials of a new gene therapy treatment for a degenerative eye disease, Leber's congenital amaurosis, seem promising. In the news section, Science says that after a single injection of a gene, the sight of four out of six adults was partially restored. The Economist adds that most gene therapy research focuses on improving the viral vectors that deliver the gene. This latest study is from the New England Journal of Medicine.
Japanese researchers report on the role of mutant mtDNA in tumor cell metastasis. Using cybrid technology, they swapped the endogenous mtDNA of a poorly metastatic mouse tumor cell line with that of a highly metastatic line. The new hybrid cells then acted, in terms of metastatic ability, like the cells from which their new mtDNA came. They highly metastatic mtDNA had mutations in the gene encoded NADH, leading to an overproduction of reactive oxygen species -- an effect that could be suppressed by pretreatment with ROS scavengers.