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J Med Virol. 1999 Mar;57(3):269-77.

Assessment of Herpesvirus saimiri as a potential human gene therapy vector.

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Molecular Medicine Unit, St. James's University Hospital, University of Leeds, England.


Herpesvirus saimiri has characteristics that make it amenable to development as a gene therapy vector. The viral genome is thought to be capable of accommodating large quantities of heterologous DNA while the virus itself can infect many different cell types. Virus infection has been shown in many cases to be persistent by virtue of episomal maintenance in the target cell. In this article we examine the ability of nonselectable recombinant viruses expressing the beta-galactosidase gene product to infect a variety of human cells and demonstrate that this virus could be developed as an alternative hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy vector. In contrast to earlier observations, we demonstrate by a number of methods that the virus has the ability to replicate in many human cell types, suggesting the need for the development of a disabled virus for use as a gene therapy vector.

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