Genetically Engineering Spider Silk with a Fireflies’s Glow
A new study was performed by David Kaplan and colleagues with the modification of spider silk proteins. ScienceDaily reported about it, which originally appears in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry put out by ACS. The proteins were used in gene therapy in an attempt to find a way to find a good way to deliver genes as treatments into the body’s cells. Since 1989, though there have been around 1,500 clinical trials, there are still no FDA-approved gene therapies.
With the use of spider silk proteins however, that may all change very soon. These proteins are already heavily used in the medicinal field. The experiment called to tweak the proteins so that they would attach to the diseases cells only, leaving the healthy cells alone. Also, as a type of tracking device, the scientists inserted the genes the make fireflies glow into the proteins. This allowed them to make sure that the proteins reached their destination. Using mice having human breast cancer cells as test subjects, they found that the spider silk successfully made it to the target cells with no observable harm, and injected it with the DNA material. This new breakthrough could be the start of a new beginning of FDA-approved gene therapies.