Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Using viruses for effective cell change

Although adenovirus has become an extremely important tool for developing gene transfer vectors, there are still many problems to overcome, such as inflammations induced. Dodecahedron, a newly developed particle that consists of adenovirus proteins is very effective and safe vector for efficient transduction of large proteins into human cells.
Using viruses for effective cell change
One of the key challenges of recent scientific advancements is gene therapy that simply relies on changing cells with the aid of vectors. Viruses are considered to be very useful tools for generating transgenics because of their extremely small size that makes them easy to manipulate and to transfer to critical genes. Adenovirus, which belongs to any group of viruses including those that in humans cause upper respiratory infections, is one of the most prominent gene transfer vectors.

Adenovirus displays many advantages over other commonly used vectors, such as increased capabilities for easy cloning and infection of a large variety of different cells. Since it constitutes a normally found human pathogen, it does not cause serious disease and unlike most vectors, they may also be inserted into non-dividing cells. However, in many cases, they may induce inflammations and may act as oncogenes, thus being responsible for tumour generation.

Addressing this need, a newly developed tiny dodecahedron consisting of adenovirus proteins may be used as a vector for virus cell entry. Used as a gene transfer vector, it may find the appropriate target cell and change the metabolism of the cell in the desired way without any adverse effects on the cell. In comparison to adenovirus the new particle is equally effective and more efficient because it may administer larger proteins into human cells. At the same time, it is safer without potentially interfering with normal gene expression.

Dodecahedron has been successfully tested in human dendritic cells, such as those found in spleen and lymph nodes. The results have shown that this novelty presents increased potential for transducing antigens, which might be proteins or peptides into dendritic type of cells. This may significantly contribute to the development of effective drug delivery systems for new or improving current gene therapies.
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