Nonviral Methods for Gene Transfer

  • A. Djeha
  • L. S. Lashford
Part of the Blood Cell Biochemistry book series (BLBI, volume 8)


Nucleic acids have acquired considerable significance as clinical reagents in genetic diseases. In genetic approaches to human disease, genes are introduced into cells to synthesize therapeutically active products which may in turn influence the clinical progression of the disease. Successful gene therapy requires identifying an appropriate therapeutic gene and also developing delivery systems through which genes are efficiently transferred to the desired cell type. One approach is to use viruses which, through evolutionary pressures, have been selected to introduce genes successfully into mammalian cells. This is manifested by the development of sophisticated and highly specific mechanisms which facilitate viral cell binding to target cells, cellular entry, and survival, followed by rapid intracellular liberation of the viral contents and subsequent replication of the virus genome. Rapid progress in understanding the mechanisms of viral infection of cells has inspired the development of gene delivery systems that emulate many functions of viruses. However, the safety of any therapy is of paramount importance. The ideal agents for gene therapy are those which are unlikely to infect cells outside the target tissue and are also nontoxic and unable to induce a host immune response. Many viral vectors in clinical use have been chosen because they are efficient and relatively stable in gene transfer. However, there are significant concerns regarding the safety of virally mediated gene transfer. The report of a breakout of a replication-competent retrovirus in a producer cell line that is widely considered among the safest used in clinical trials has sent a strong warning signal (Chong and Vile, 1996).


Gene Therapy Gene Transfer Gene Delivery Particle Bombardment Cationic Lipid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Djeha
    • 1
  • L. S. Lashford
    • 2
  1. 1.CRC Department of Experimental HaematologyPaterson Institute for Cancer ResearchManchesterUK
  2. 2.Paterson Institute for Cancer ResearchChristie Hospital (NHS) TrustManchesterUK

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