Date: 02 Apr 2011

Introduction to Viral Vectors

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Viral vector is the most effective means of gene transfer to modify specific cell type or tissue and can be manipulated to express therapeutic genes. Several virus types are currently being investigated for use to deliver genes to cells to provide either transient or permanent transgene expression. These include adenoviruses (Ads), retroviruses (γ-retroviruses and lentiviruses), poxviruses, adeno-associated viruses, baculoviruses, and herpes simplex viruses. The choice of virus for routine clinical use will depend on the efficiency of transgene expression, ease of production, safety, toxicity, and stability. This chapter provides an introductory overview of the general characteristics of viral vectors commonly used in gene transfer and their advantages and disadvantages for gene therapy use.