Charlestown, MA, July 14, 2003 -- In this issue of the journal Virology, (Vol. 312, Number 2, August 1, 2003) researchers from Immerge BioTherapeutics, Inc., (a BioTransplant Incorporated (Nasdaq:BTRN) /Novartis Pharma AG (NYSE:NYS) joint venture company) announced that recombination between porcine and human endogenous retrovirus was not detected when using sensitive laboratory tests, leading the authors to conclude that the creation of a new virus from the two was highly unlikely. Although the risk of recombination is purely theoretical, it has been of concern to xenotransplant researchers. This study represents an important finding and the most recent advance in the Immerge safety program, which is dedicated to addressing potential issues in the safety risk of pig-to-human xenotransplantation.
"We utilized a laboratory model to simulate PERV (porcine endogenous retrovirus) transmission by infecting human cells with the virus," said Dr Clive Patience, Director of the Safety Program at Immerge. "We found that human retrovirus elements were not detectable in the PERV particles released from the infected human cells. These results are encouraging, as we used very sensitive assays that can detect 1 out of 50,000 to 1 out of 10 million elements. Therefore, if human cells were ever to become infected by PERV, the likelihood of porcine and human viruses recombining to form a novel infectious virus is extremely remote."
PERV is a natural virus in pigs, but does not cause any disease in these animals. In certain laboratory conditions PERV can infect cells from other species, including some human cells. However, there are no indications that PERV infection has occurred in living individuals, including humans that have been treated with pig tissues or those that are in regular direct contact with living pig cells or tissues.
"The risk of cross-species spread of PERV should be balanced by the potential efficacy of the transplanted tissue," commePage: 1 2 Related biology news :1
Contact: Susan Hayes
S. Hayes Consulting
. Immerge reports PERVs most infectious to human cells not part of germ-line DNA of mini-swine2
. Immerge BioTherapeutics announces identification of PERV receptor3
. Immerge biotherapeutics identifies miniature swine that do not transmit pig retrovirus to humans4
. Secretary of Energy announces seven E.O. Lawrence Award Winners5
. Popular Science announces Third Annual Brilliant 106
. The American Phytopathological Society announces 2004 awards7
. NSF announces six FIBR awards to tackle some of biologys most challenging questions8
. Protemix corporation announces discovery of way to repair hearts damaged by diabetes9
. JGI announces community sequencing program portfolio10
. APS announces the winners of its 2004 postdoctoral fellowship in physiological genomics11
. National Corn Growers Association announces valuable maize genome data now available to scientists