GENTECH archive


Japan and Gene Therapy

For you interest:

     government is considering revising its guidelines on gene
     therapy following calls from doctors to be allowed to use the
     procedure to treat chronically ill patients. Current rules,
     introduced in 1994, only allow researchers to use gene therapy
     in the treatment of serious life threatening diseases such as
     cancer and AIDS. The move follows an application by
     researchers to Osaka University's ethics committee for
     permission to use gene therapy to treat a patient with
     obstructive arteriosclerosis, a chronic condition that could
     result in the patient losing a limb. However, present
     guidelines, based on similar rules in the US, limit the use of
     gene therapy to life threatening diseases because of fears
     that the treatment has not been proved to be safe. Officials
     said the Health and Welfare Ministry and the Education
     Ministry are expected to revise their guidelines, which govern
     doctors and university researchers, by the end of the year.
     The therapy is expected to be limited to the treatment of
     chronic diseases affecting blood vessels, muscles and nerves,
     officials said on Monday 4 January. Gene therapy, first
     introduced in the US in 1990, has been used in over 3000
     clinical studies. Although the success of the treatment has
     been extremely limited, no harmful side effects have been