The application of bone marrow transplantation to the treatment of genetic diseases

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Science  13 Jun 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4756, pp. 1373-1378
DOI: 10.1126/science.3520819


Genetic diseases can be treated by transplantation of either normal allogeneic bone marrow or, potentially, autologous bone marrow into which the normal gene has been inserted in vitro (gene therapy). Histocompatible allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is used for the treatment of genetic diseases whose clinical expression is restricted to lymphoid or hematopoietic cells. The therapeutic role of bone marrow transplantation in the treatment of generalized genetic diseases, especially those affecting the central nervous system, is under investigation. The response of a generalized genetic disease to allogeneic bone marrow transplantation may be predicted by experiments in vitro. Gene therapy can be used only when the gene responsible for the disease has been characterized. Success of gene therapy for a specific genetic disease may be predicted by its clinical response to allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.