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Gammaretroviral vectors: biology, design and applications
A selection of talks on Genetics & Epigenetics
Genetic counseling: preconception, prenatal, perinatal
- Prof. Aubrey Milunsky
- Tufts University School of Medicine, USA
Recent advances in the development of gene delivery technologies
- Dr. Takis Athanasopoulos
- GSK, UK
RNA modifications in human diseases: what, when and how?
- Prof. Chengqi Yi
- Peking University, China
Techniques to infer admixture using genome-wide autosomal DNA 1
- Dr. Garrett Hellenthal
- University College London, UK
Hello. My name is Axel Schambach, and I'm the acting director of the Institute of Experimental Hematology at Hannover Medical School. Within the next 40 to 45 minutes or so, I would like to give you a broad overview on gammaretroviral vectors, their biology, their design, and their applications in clinical trials.
I will structure my presentation as follows. I will start with an introduction into the biology of retroviruses, including their genome and particle organization and the retroviral life cycle. From there I will give some insights how retroviruses have developed as evolutionary adapted vehicles to deliver genetic information. As a next step, we will convert a retrovirus into the retroviral vector gene delivery tool and mention how this vector system has been efficiently used in the clinical gene therapy arena. We will also touch the occurred adverse events and how these would potentially be prevented in future gene therapy trials. And mention the development of SIN vectors and how to create the right therapeutic window for gene therapy. Apart from the integrating retroviral vectors, we will also mention retroviral intermediates as delivery tools for genetic information. And also in the end take you a little bit on a time journey into the field of retroviral gene therapy and how it has developed. Finally, I will conclude with a summary and a take-home message.
So let's go into the details. So what's so special about retroviruses that makes them attractive tools for gene transfer? So first of all, retroviruses are evolutionary optimized gene carriers that have naturally adapted to their host to efficiently deliver genetic information into target cells. And as a hallmark and common to all retroviruses, they have the stage of reverse transcription of their single-stranded RNA genome into double-stranded DNA. And this double-stranded DNA is then stably integrated into the host cell genome. Looking back, they are highly evolved parasites which exploit the host cell machinery for their own replication. And it's maybe a little bit surprising to know that retroviruses are already more than 8 million years old and have been found already back then in the mammalian genome. The first approaches have been put forward using retrovirus-based gene transfer approximately 30 years ago. Back then it has been shown that it's much more efficient than DNA transfection in primary cells and that their use in murine bone marrow transplantation was quite successful and paved the way for gene therapy of the hematopoietic system.