Hyderabad: Artificial viruses have been developed to deliver nucleic acid to the targeted tumour in the body to kill the cancerous cells.
The development of artificial viruses through nanotechnology will bring about a sea change in the gene therapy research, which has thus far been in trouble due to a paucity of acceptable vector systems to deliver nucleic acids to patients for therapy.
According to Prof Andrew D Miller of Imperial College Genetic Therapies Centre, London, these improved synthetic non-viral vectors provide a solution to various infectious diseases and cancers of ovaries, cervix and lungs.
"Viral vectors are efficient but may be too dangerous. Synthetic non-viral vectors are inherently safer but are currently not efficient enough to be clinically viable. The solution for gene therapy lies with improved synthetic non-viral vectors systems," he pointed out.
Prof Miller is currently in Hyderabad interacting with scientists and researchers at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology. The Genetic Therapies Centre has developed an alternative virus-like nanoparticle non-viral vector system.
"In doing this, we hope to develop a single non-viral vector platform technology system wherein all the fundamental problems could be solved simultaneously. Gratifyingly, the goal of a real non-viral vector platform technology system was recently achieved with the successful development of liposome:mu:DNA (LMD) systems," he pointed out.
These LMD systems offer the opportunity to derive tailor-made non-viral delivery systems by a process of systematic modular upgrading. Fundamentally, such systems have many potential advantages compared with virus-based vector systems including significantly lower toxicity/immunogenicity and potential for oncogenicity, size independent delivery of nucleic acids, significantly simpler quality control, and substantially easier pharmaceutical and regulatory requirements, according to Prof Miller.
He said pre-clinical trials are on and clinical trials are expected to begin from the new year.