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The Boston Globe

Business

RNAi tactic to fight disease offers new hope

Genzyme, Alnylam say they’re making progress

In 1998, two researchers made a startling discovery with enormous potential: They could attack diseases by turning off the genes that provide them with their malevolent energy.

The scientists, from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Stanford University, had come up with a way to block, or “silence,” genes by using strands of ribonucleic acid, or RNA, to interfere with the genes’ normal production of proteins. Remove the proteins and the diseases fed by them would go away.

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