A treatment now pending approval in Europe will be the first commercial gene therapy to provide an outright cure for a deadly disease. The treatment is a landmark for gene-replacement technology, an idea that’s struggled for three decades to prove itself safe and practical. Called Strimvelis, and owned by drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, the treatment is for severe combined immune deficiency, a rare disease that leaves newborns with almost no defense against viruses, bacteria, or fungi and is sometimes called ‘bubble boy’ disease after an American child whose short life inside a protective plastic shield was described in a 1976 movie. The treatment is different than any that’s come before because it appears to be an outright cure carried out through a genetic repair. The therapy was tested on 18 children, the first of them 15 years ago. All are still alive."