Narrator: This is
Science Today. There are only three problems in gene therapy: delivery,
delivery and delivery. That's an old joke in the field, according to University
of California, Berkeley researcher Dave Schaffer, who directs the Berkeley Stem
So, our group
the past 12 to 13 years at Berkley has really been trying to work hard on
improving the process of delivering therapeutic genes to a patient's cells so
that we can really get up to therapeutic levels of gene delivery and cure
Narrator: In fact, Schaffer recently engineered a virus to deliver corrective genes to damaged eye cells — a process that involved his team creating over 100 million variants of the virus to ensure that they evolved one that was best suited for gene therapy.
Schaffer: The biggest surprise, which perhaps shouldn't have been a surprise, is that evolution works. Meaning that every single time we try to apply this approach, this directed evolution of the virus to treat or to overcome a new problem with gene delivery, it's worked almost better than what we'd hoped for.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.