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New resources to assist with gene transfer clinical studies

Bethesda, MDThe National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today the award of cooperative agreements in the amount of $2.65 million to establish National Gene Vector Laboratories (NGVLs) at five locations:

Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX)

City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute (Duarte, CA)

Indiana University (Indianapolis, IN)

Southern Research Institute (Birmingham, AL)

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

In gene transfer clinical studies, a vector serves as the vehicle to deliver a healthy gene to a part of the patient's body. This allows the correction of a genetic disorder or alteration of the properties of the cell. In this manner, gene transfer protocols, using several viral and non-viral vectors, have addressed such diseases as cystic fibrosis, severe combined immune deficiencies, hemophilia, cancer, heart disease, and AIDS.

"While the potential for gene transfer is great, the technical requirements and the expense of vector development, production, and safety testing often limits the capacity of investigators to proceed with their research," said Dr. Judith Vaitukaitis, NCRR Director. "A cooperative national effort will help move this promising research forward."

Frequently, physician scientists have had neither the ability to generate clinical grade vector in sufficient quantity nor the financial resources or time required to obtain the needed vector from commercial manufacturers. The limited availability of clinical quality vector constituted a barrier to progress in the field of gene transfer.

NCRR established a NGVL network in 1995 to help clinical researchers obtain adequate quantities of clinical-grade vectors. With today's announcement, the NGVLs will have not only the capability to produce and distribute a variety of human gene vectors, but also the capacity to provide toxicolo
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Contact: Kathy Kaplan
KaplanK@ncrr.nih.gov
301-435-0888
NIH/National Center for Research Resources
7-Nov-2001


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