(April, 1999)

More on Gene Therapy
from Susan L.

Once again I have to thank you for this wonderful web site. When I read your response to "Socks" I had a real good laugh and when I read about Wheng I almost cried. This mystery disease P is horrible in its worst state, but I do believe there are worse things you could have. I also believe a cure is in the offing.

A friend from work went through a year of hell with breast then liver cancer. She is recovered from the cancer—and the cure. I was recently told by her sister that she is getting injections of a "virus" every Friday to eliminate the breast cancer gene from her body. I can't verify this information but doesn't that sound like a big step forward in medicine? She must be part of some clinical trial. We both work at a large hospital and they may be testing something. If they can do it with the breast cancer gene maybe they can do it for us, too.

In the meantime, thanks for the laughs. I look forward to your updates. Speaking of which, I heard that more frequent publishing of website updates can drastically reduce itchiness and stress too! -Susan L.

*****

Ed's Response: Ah Susan, you are a charmer! Lord knows, if I could do this full time I'd lose my day-job in a minute and FLAKE HQ would be updated daily. I fantasize about having the time and resources to follow-up on some of the things I hear about in the course of putting FLAKE together. But alas ... I am grateful for what I am able to do.

It certainly does sound like your friend is getting the cutting edge of medical treatment for her cancer proclivity. And that's exciting. I've read the virus vector gene therapy is being tried and your news confirms that. (See "Gene Therapy" in Archives.) My last look (1997) suggested researchers were having problems getting the "corrected genes" in the right tissues via the viruses; hopefully by now they're having more luck.

The latest news from NPF on P-related genetic research suggests there may be more than one gene gone astray in our DNA. It may be that some combination of genes, one or more acting peculiarly, is what makes us flake. This doesn't surprise me. It's rather like the young boy who, upon first looking inside a wristwatch says, "Goodness! There's a whole lot of little gears in here!" Duh!

Anyway, when I hear good news, you'll hear it too! Thanks, Susan. -Ed

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