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The World in Medicine
November 19, 2003

Stroke and Air Quality

JAMA. 2003;290(19):2535. doi:10.1001/jama.290.19.2535-a

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.