London, Nov 16 : Elderly dogs may soon be able to run around like puppies, thanks to the new genetic enhancement technology, which could be approved by next year.
Professor Lee Sweeney, from the University of Pennsylvania, has pioneered research into gene transfer technology, a field in which poorly functioning and abnormal genes are manipulated, switched off or replaced
"We are now in the final stages of getting all the approvals to offer this through the veterinary hospital as a treatment to try to improve strength in pet dogs," the Telegraph quoted Sweeney, as saying.
"As the dogs get weak their owners get upset that they can't walk around any more. So we're hoping that within the next year we will begin the era of genetic enhancement in dogs," Sweeney added.
As part of the new therapy, dogs would be given an injection into the liver of an inhibitor, which switches off the gene that produces myostatin, a protein, which inhibits muscle growth in animals and humans.
Sweeney said that the treatment has passed laboratory trials, but regulatory authorities are now discussing whether the dogs would have to be held in quarantine after treatment, because of possible risks if humans came into contact with their waste after the procedure.
Now, scientists hope the same technology could be used in humans to treat serious genetic diseases such as muscular dystrophy.