An international team of scientists investigating why two children in
France developed leukemia after undergoing gene therapy has discovered the
likely cause: a virus used to replace the defective gene with a working copy
inadvertently switched on a cancer-causing gene in the patients' DNA (Science. 2003;302:415-419).
The children had been participants in a clinical trial in which 9 of
10 boys apparently had been cured of X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency
disease. The condition, often referred to as "bubble baby disease," involves
defects in T-cell and B-cell immunity.
Stephenson J. Stroke and Air Quality. JAMA. 2003;290(19):2535. doi:10.1001/jama.290.19.2535-a