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Proteins spur diabetic mice models to grow blood vessels, nerves

clinical trials, VEGF may be available as a therapeutic gene therapy within five years. Gene therapy requires expertise that is available in only a few medical centers. The hope is that netrins could be more effective and may not have to be delivered as a gene therapy, making it available to a much larger group of patients, according to Li.

Proving netrins work in mice is a big step, but Li says it's only a start.

"We have to find a better way to deliver the therapy," he said.

A biopharmaceutical drug would make a good way to give the therapy. As for any drug, to develop and get a therapy approved could take years. If Netrins prove to be a viable therapy and resources are committed to drug development, a netrin-based therapy could be on the market in 10 years, Li said.

Netrins are one of four major classes of neural guidance cues, which induce axons or nerve fibers to extend in specific directions during development. In 2004, Li and his colleagues showed in laboratory cultures that in addition to promoting nerve growth, Netrin-1 also induced formation of blood vessels.


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Source:University of Utah Health Sciences Center


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