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New Gene Therapy Technique Results In Efficient Gene Delivery

in into the viruses. They added the gene-carrying viruses to the cells and then exposed the cells to neomycin. To their surprise, the researchers saw colonies--demonstrating cells had become resistant to neomycin and thus had been infected by the virus. In fact, a much higher percentage of the cells were infected than expected. "This is really quite remarkable. I think jumping up and down is the way you?d describe our reaction," says Young.

The success may be due in part to the simplicity of the ALV system. Unlike HIV, which uses multiple receptors, ALV seems to enter cells by a single receptor. While the ALV receptor thus appears to be uniquely suited to the protein bridge approach, EGF is only one of many possible protein partners. Young and Snitkovsky speculate the method could be used on a variety of cell surface markers, including those found on cancer cells. They are currently exploring other possibilities in conjunction with graduate student Adrienne Boerger and other colleagues at Harvard Medical School. They are also working on ways to deliver the protein bridge in vivo.

"The way I look upon this experiment is that it has opened the door to the possibility of targeting by this mechanism," says Young. "It solves that problem in tissue culture. Translating that to the in vivo situation is a major hurdle now."


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Contact: Peta Gillyatt
pgillyat@warren.med.harvard.edu
617-432-0443
Harvard Medical School
9-Jun-1998


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