Achievement of a data base and repository to disseminate quality-controlled gene therapy material to the European community
Facing to the tremendous increase of gene transfer experiments and a myriad of plasmids developed, the EGDR has been envisaged to centralise the basic tools for these experiments with controlled quality specifications, and help, therefore, the scientific community involved in the domain. This demonstration project has shown that, during the project period, it was possible to establish a unique gene vector database and repository in Europe. About one hundred different items (plasmids, cell lines and vectors) have been collected mainly from the partners' own repositories and banked in the EGDR. Quality control analysis has been performed to certify the identity of the material and physical and biological specifications. These items have been provided by the EGDR partners, and represent results of respective R&D past or ongoing activities, with results and potential exploitation mentioned in the following sections. All items have been banked at GENETHON, and are available for the scientific community on request. A data base as been developed, which describes these items, and allows the community to have sufficient information to envisage the use in their own project. The database, incorporated into the EGDR web site (www.egdr.org), contains all information about each item, and can be incremented with further data on each new item and all other information on gene transfer material and technologies. When EGDR is fully established and officially opened it will provide a unique service for scientists in Europe. Since March 2000, the EGDR site (http://www.egdr.org) has started on the web. It is composed by the following basic segments: -a) A first introduction page presenting the aims of the project in the context of the EC work program. -b) The list of the members of the consortium, with the links to their respective web sites. -c) An explanatory notice on how to obtain from/submit to EGDR the BM. -d) The list of the BM available in the repository, as the result of the first input from the partners, and a guideline to select materials. -e) The information on each item, namely, maps and sequences for plasmids, quality specifications, bibliographic reference, etc. -f) Downloadable forms to obtain/submit materials. A repository has been established at Genethon, containing cell lines (9), plasmids (73) and viral vectors (18). This first collection consists of producers cell lines, plasmids backbones to produce viral vectors, such as adenovirus (Ad) adeno-associated (AAV), autonomous mouse minute virus (MVM), retrovirus, lentivirus, SV40-based vectors, and materials necessary to perform quality control tests (cell lines and viruses for vector titration). These vectors are or can be used in gene transfers experiments for the following domains : -a) Basic research and/or vector development. -b) Approaches for pre-clinical and clinical trials (in vivo/ex vivo, gene marking). -c) Research and pre-clinical projects targeting acquired and genetic diseases. -d) Clinical trials. The EGDR is at present in the process to go public. It means that EGDR contains a sufficient number of biological materials to offer potential customers. The interest of the scientific community towards this new service and its exploitation potential has been proved by more than 13 000 accesses to the web site during the first six months.