Funding for treatment of genetic disorders

14 May 2013

A new drug delivery technology with the potential to transform the treatment of genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis will be further tested at The University of Auckland soon.

Associate Professor Geoffrey Krissansen from The University of Auckland will use a $150,000 Explorer Grant from the Health Research Council to examine whether a new a new drug delivery peptide can be used for protein replacement therapy to combat cystic fibrosis and hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (a specific type of stomach cancer), which are both diseases caused by single gene defects.

The new drug delivery agent developed by Dr Krissansen and his colleagues will be used to deliver drugs directly to damaged epithelial cells that line the lungs and stomach in order to replace the defective proteins.

“There are more than 6,000 known single-gene disorders, which occur in about 1 out of every 200 births. Congenital mutations in single genes result in devastating diseases of the skin and other epithelia,” says Dr Krissansen.

“We propose to employ novel drug delivery technology to replace the defective proteins associated with each disease to provide a potential cure. The technology has the potential to transform medical practice in the prevention or treatment of genetic disorders that are currently incurable,” he says.

The $150,000 grant will fund the research over the next two years, and includes funding for direct costs such as consumables and casual research assistants.

“This is the first year that the HRC has awarded Explorer Grants to health researchers,” says HRC Chief Executive, Dr Robin Olds. “The grants – three in total – are designed to provide seed support for projects that advance transformative, innovative, exploratory or unconventional ideas, and which have the potential for major impact.”

For more information contact:

Suzi Phillips Media Relations Advisor Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences The University of Auckland s.phillips@auckland.ac.nz Mob 021 416 396 Phone +64 9 373 7599 ext 87383