The chimeraplast, a combination of selected DNA and RNA--the chemical that translates the DNA's genetic code into a protein which the body can use--acts like a chemical instruction to the cell itself to alter the gene in the desired way.
"Once we know the sequence of the gene, then we build the chimeraplast so it binds to the exact location where we want to make a change," Messerschmidt said.
recently merged with the French company ValiGene to form ValiGen.] Whereas gene therapy mainly uses genetically engineered viruses to deliver a replacement gene, chimeraplasty relies on short, synthetically produced sequences of DNA/RNA hybrids (chimeraplasts
) to interact with the faulty genetic material and to stimulate the cell's genetic repair mechanism to correct the defects.