Replacing surgeons knife

Published: Tuesday 30 April 1996

Ronald Crystal of the Conell Medical Center in New York, US, is leading a research which aims at putting the cardiac surgeons out of business. Crystal's therapy relies on the ability of the common-cold virus to make foreign proteins when fitted with relevant genes and this is used to generate new blood vessels. The virus has been genetically modified to carry vascular endothilial growth factor, a protein vital for the growth of new blood vessels. Eventually doctors will infect the patient's heart muscle with the virus by an injection or through a catheter. The growth factor would be produced for a few days after which the immunity system of the patient will overcome the infection.

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