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Commentary

Future of adenoviruses in the gene therapy of arthritis

Christopher H Evans1*, Steven C Ghivizzani1, Thomas A Oligino2 and Paul D Robbins2

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Molecular Orthopaedics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

2 Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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Arthritis Res 2001, 3:142-146  doi:10.1186/ar291

Published: 19 February 2001

Abstract

Recombinant adenoviruses are straightforward to produce at high titres, have a promiscuous host-range, and, because of their ability to infect nondividing cells, lend themselves to in vivo gene delivery. Such advantages have led to their widespread and successful use in preclinical studies of arthritis gene therapy. While adenoviral vectors are well suited to 'proof of principle' experiments in laboratory animals, there are several barriers to their use in human studies at this time. Transient transgene expression limits their application to strategies, such as synovial ablation, which do not require extended periods of gene expression. Moreover, there are strong immunological barriers to repeat dosing. In addition, safety concerns predicate local, rather than systemic, delivery of the virus. Continued engineering of the adenoviral genome is producing vectors with improved properties, which may eventually overcome these issues. Promising avenues include the development of 'gutted' vectors encoding no endogenous viral genes and of adenovirus–AAV chimeras. Whether these will offer advantages over existing vectors, which may already provide safe, long-term gene expression following in vivo delivery, remains to be seen.

Keywords:
gene expression; gene therapy; immunity; vector; virus