Viral Vectors: Lentivirus
LENTIVIRAL VECTORS ARE derived from a genus of retroviruses and used as a tool in gene therapy for administering genetic material. Gene therapy frequently uses stem cells because of their self—renewing properties, which allow one—time, as opposed to repeated, delivery of therapeutic genes. Len—tiviruses are unique for their ability to integrate into the genome of both dividing and nondividing cells. Because stem cells are often quiescent, or nondividing, for long periods until activation, len—tiviral vectors provide a way to deliver therapeutic genes and engineer cells capable of proliferating and repairing damaged cells comprising tissues and organs. Although lentivirus offers advantages over other viral vectors, its use in therapy can present potential risks. Lentiviruses are characterized by persistent infection, and viruses proliferate within host cells undetected for extended periods of time. Like other retroviruses, lentiviruses are composed of RNA and, on infecting a host, are reverse—transcribed into DNA that is then ...