Despite the social stigma and manufacturing hurdles that come with using viruses as therapeutic tools, the molecular specificity offered by these bugs makes them too attractive to ignore. Still largely based on vaccines, viral vectors offer exciting tools to treat cancer or deliver specific genetic payloads to a desired tissue. Unfortunately, early clinical trials utilizing such vectors have been plagued with poor performance or even clinical toxicity most commonly associated with spurious genetic regulation and/or replication of the vector. Past efforts to control for unwanted toxicity have focused on modification of the receptor or use of tissue-specific genetic elements that added specificity to the transcriptional induction of the gene(s) of interest. While this has had some success, engineering receptors to control viral tropism often fails or results in a loss of replicative fitness. In addition, the use of tissue-specific promoter elements not only restricts the vector that can be used, bona fide small promoter elements are often not available for the desired target. With the caveats of viral vector-based therapeutics largely centered on a lack of in vivo control, the recent success of exploiting microRNA expression to limit viral tropism may breathe new life into the field.
|Number of pages||4|
|State||Published - Aug 2009|