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Current Gene Therapy


ISSN (Print): 1566-5232
ISSN (Online): 1875-5631

Alphavirus Vectors for Gene Therapy Applications

Author(s): Kenneth Lundstrom

Volume 1, Issue 1, 2001

Page: [19 - 29] Pages: 11

DOI: 10.2174/1566523013349039


High-titer alphavirus vectors have been generated for efficient gene delivery both in vitro and in vivo. Studies on CNS infection via intranasal and peripheral injections with virulent and avirulent replication-competent Semliki Forest virus (SFV) strains has demonstrated the potential of gene delivery. Replication-deficient alphavirus particles have shown high local transgene expression of a transient nature in rodent brain. Alphavirus vectors have been demonstrated to induce apoptosis in infected human tumor cell lines and SFV vectors expressing interleukin-12 resulted in tumor regression in a B16 murine melanoma model. Repeated SFV injections led to stronger anti-tumor effects without immunogenic response detected against SFV. It has also been shown that intra-tumoral SFV-injections into nude mice with implanted human lung carcinomas led to tumor regression. Likewise, injection of replicative SFV-LacZ RNA resulted in tumor response as well as prophylactic protection against tumor formation. Alphaviruses have also showed potential in vaccine production. Additionally, modifications in the envelope structure of Sindbis virus resulted in substantial change in host range and demonstrated the feasibility of targeting alphavirus vectors. Moreover, SFV has been used as an expression vector for the generation of high-titer retrovirus-like particles. Recent alphavirus vector development has introduced novel non-cytopathogenic vectors, tightly temperature-regulated vectors as well as replication-persistent forms that should prolong the duration of expression. Alphavirus vectors can therefore be considered as highly potential gene delivery vehicles for future gene therapy applications, especially where only short-term expression is required, or even preferred.

Keywords: Alphavirus Vectors, Gene Therapy Applications, Replication competent, self amplifying RNA, Semliki Forest, transgene expression levels, hippocampal slice, chimeric SIN, streptavidin protein, immunogenic responses, GMP conditions

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