Gene Therapy with Viral Vectors

by Douglas J. Jolly, PhD
Volume 2, Issue 5 (September/October 2003)

The modern era of interest in gene transfer as a methodology for treating disease began around 1985 with the first use and publication of mouse-based retroviruses that could transduce human cells. In fact, the use of gene transfer as a clinically useful method is probably older than any other therapy commonly used today — it forms the basis for the vaccinia vaccination against smallpox, popularized in Western medicine by Jenner. Another antecedent is phage therapy for bacterial infection, which was largely but not completely superseded by antibiotics (although it may make a comeback in this era of drug-resistant pathogenic bacterial strains.) Other examples include the other live viral vaccines: measles/mumps/rubella, polio, varicella, tuberculosis, influenza, the use of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) as a therapeutic for bladder cancer bone marrow transplants, and even the use of maggots to clean wounds…

Jolly DJ. Gene Therapy with Viral Vectors. BioProcess J, 2003; 2(5): 19-25.