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Mol Ther. 2012 Apr;20(4):709-16. doi: 10.1038/mt.2011.289. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Retroviral integrations in gene therapy trials.

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  • 1San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy, Milan, Italy.


γ-Retroviral and lentiviral vectors allow the permanent integration of a therapeutic transgene in target cells and have provided in the last decade a delivery platform for several successful gene therapy (GT) clinical approaches. However, the occurrence of adverse events due to insertional mutagenesis in GT treated patients poses a strong challenge to the scientific community to identify the mechanisms at the basis of vector-driven genotoxicity. Along the last decade, the study of retroviral integration sites became a fundamental tool to monitor vector-host interaction in patients overtime. This review is aimed at critically revising the data derived from insertional profiling, with a particular focus on the evidences collected from GT clinical trials. We discuss the controversies and open issues associated to the interpretation of integration site analysis during patient's follow up, with an update on the latest results derived from the use of high-throughput technologies. Finally, we provide a perspective on the future technical development and on the application of these studies to address broader biological questions, from basic virology to human hematopoiesis.

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