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Viral vectors for gene transfer. A review of their use in the treatment of human diseases

Item Type:Review
Title:Viral vectors for gene transfer. A review of their use in the treatment of human diseases
Creators Name:Walther, W. and Stein, U.
Abstract:The efficient delivery of therapeutic genes and appropriate gene expression are the crucial issues for clinically relevant gene therapy. Viruses are naturally evolved vehicles which efficiently transfer their genes into host cells. This ability made them desirable for engineering virus vector systems for the delivery of therapeutic genes. The viral vectors recently in laboratory and clinical use are based on RNA and DNA viruses processing very different genomic structures and host ranges. Particular viruses have been selected as gene delivery vehicles because of their capacities to carry foreign genes and their ability to efficiently deliver these genes associated with efficient gene expression. These are the major reasons why viral vectors derived from retroviruses, adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, herpesvirus and poxvirus are employed in more than 70% of clinical gene therapy trials worldwide. Among these vector systems, retrovirus vectors represent the most prominent delivery system, since these vectors have high gene transfer efficiency and mediate high expression of therapeutic genes. Members of the DNA virus family such as adenovirus-, adeno-associated virus or herpesvirus have also become attractive for efficient gene delivery as reflected by the fast growing number of clinical trials using these vectors. The first clinical trials were designed to test the feasibility and safety of viral vectors. Numerous viral vector systems have been developed for ex vivo and in vivo applications. More recently, increasing efforts have been made to improve infectivity, viral targeting, cell type specific expression and the duration of expression. These features are essential for higher efficacy and safety of RNA- and DNA-virus vectors. From the beginning of development and utilisation of viral vectors it was apparent that they harbour risks such as toxicities, immunoresponses towards viral antigens or potential viral recombination, which limit their clinical use. However, many achievements have been made in vector safety, the retargeting of virus vectors and improving the expression properties by refining vector design and virus production. This review addresses important issues of the current status of viral vector design and discusses their key features as delivery systems in gene therapy of human inherited and acquired diseases at the level of laboratory developments and of clinical applications.
Keywords:Adenoviridae, Dependovirus, DNA Viruses, Gene Therapy, Gene Transfer Techniques, Genetic Vectors, Human Herpesvirus 1, Lentivirus, Retroviridae, Terminal Repeat Sequences, Vaccinia virus
Publisher:Adis International
Page Range:249-271
Date:1 January 2000
PubMed:View item in PubMed

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