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B. The Gene Pill: A New Concept in Gene Therapy

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new concept in gene therapy, in which normal proteins - including insulin - can be delivered to the bloodstream in one simple pill, has been patented. Dr. Stephen Rothman, a professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, is one of the inventors of this technique, which is often referred to as the 'gene pill.'

Rothman: It's an attempt for a short-term therapy, not a long-term cure. The gene pill can be given daily or even more frequently, as long as you need it. But it's not an attempt to make a permanent change in the cells and in the biological system.

Narrator: Rothman says the reasons for this are practical.

Rothman: You may want to treat somebody only for a short period of time - you don't want a permanent treatment. It also allows you to adjust dose. You could start out with lower doses and increase the dose. Whereas, it's much harder to do that if you make a permanent change in the cell.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.