Sunday, November 16, 2008

Old dogs can become young again!

Within the year there will be on the market a concoction that will rejuvenate your dog! It would be in the form of an injection into the liver. This shot would switch off the gene produces myostatin, a protein which inhibits muscle growth in animals and humans. So doggy muscles will start developing again and the old dog will be able to jump and prance around just like when it was a puppy.

An American professor is preparing to market a form of canine gene therapy, which would see dogs injected with substances which switch off the genes that regulate their muscle growth.

Prof Lee Sweeney, from the University of Pennsylvania, has pioneered research into gene transfer technology, a field in which poorly functioning and abnormal genes are manipulated, switched off or replaced. He says experiments on dogs have been so successful that he is preparing to market the treatments to owners of ageing pets across the United States.

He said: "We are now in the final stages of getting all the approvals to offer this through the veterinary hospital as a treatment to try to improve strength in pet dogs. The treatment has passed laboratory trials, but regulatory authorities are now discussing whether the dogs would have to be held in quarantine after treatment, because of possible risks if humans came into contact with their waste after the procedure, Prof Sweeney said.

Scientists hope the same technology could be used in humans, to treat serious genetic diseases such as muscular dystrophy.

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