[ExI] Surprise! Our Bodies Have Been Hiding a Trojan Horse for Gene Therapy

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 25 15:44:14 UTC 2021

"Enter SEND. The new delivery platform, described in
<https://science.sciencemag.org/content/373/6557/882> *Science*, dazzles
with its sheer ingenuity. Rather than relying on foreign carriers, SEND (*s*
elective *e*ndogenous e*n*capsidation for cellular *d*elivery) commandeers
human proteins to make delivery vehicles that shuttle in new genetic
elements. In a series of tests, the team embedded RNA cargo and CRISPR
components inside cultured cells in a dish. The cells, acting as packing
factories, used human proteins to encapsulate the genetic material, forming
tiny balloon-like vessels that can be collected as a treatment.

Even weirder, the source of these proteins relies on viral genes
domesticated eons ago by our own genome through evolution. Because the
proteins are essentially human, they’re unlikely to trigger our immune

Although the authors only tried one packaging system, far more are hidden
in our genomes. “That’s what’s so exciting,” said study author Dr. Michael
Segel, adding that the system they used isn’t unique; “There are probably
other RNA transfer systems in the human body that can also be harnessed for
therapeutic purposes.”
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