KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — American scientists said eight babies were cured of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), or “bubble boy” disease, through a gene therapy they created using HIV.
BBC reported that the infants, born with hardly any immune protection, now enjoyed fully functional immune systems.
“These patients are toddlers now, who are responding to vaccinations and have immune systems to make all immune cells they need for protection from infections as they explore the world and live normal lives.”
“This is a first for patients with SCID-X1,” Dr Ewelina Mamcarz of St Jude, an author of the research, was quoted saying in a statement, referring to the most common type of SCID.
The researchers, whose study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, collected the babies’ bone marrow and reportedly corrected the genetic defect in their DNA by inserting the “correct” gene into an amended version of one of HIV.
BBC reported that untreated infants with SCID must live in completely sterile conditions, like the famous case of David Vetter nicknamed “Bubble Boy”, who lived in a plastic isolation chamber for six years, wore a special plastic suit designed by US space agency NASA, and later died at the age of 12.