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Talking About Inflammation

Gene therapies are having a renaissance and researchers are working to avoid issues that may arise due to how the immune system responds to treatment, Nature News reports.

"Inflammation is par for the course, but often we don't talk about it," Christine Kay, a surgeon at Vitreoretinal Associates, said during a talk at the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, according to Nature News. "I'm glad that we're beginning to."

Nature News notes that safety has been a key concern of the field following the death of a gene-therapy trial participant and the discovery of treatment-related cancers about two decades ago.

Now, it writes, researchers are focusing on whether clinical trial participants already having antibodies to the viral vectors used to deliver gene therapies prevents the treatment from working as well as whether antibodies against those viral vectors or the gene therapy cargo could trigger an inflammatory response. Others, it adds, are working to suppress any immune response that might affect treatment.

Ying Kai Chan from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University tells it that a "toolbox of strategies" will likely be needed to address the issue of inflammation.