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Curr Opin Mol Ther. 2003 Oct;5(5):524-8.

The use of virus-like particles for gene transfer.

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Berlex Biosciences, 2600 Hilltop Drive, PO Box 4099, Richmond, CA 94804-0099, USA.


A major challenge in the field of gene therapy is the development of new carrier/delivery systems that lack the disadvantages of current transfer systems. In the past, some time has been spent developing such modified or alternative vectors. A new candidate is represented by virus-like particles (VLPs). It has been shown that recombinant expression of the major structural proteins of many viruses leads to the formation of VLPs. Such VLPs exhibit morphology similar to the empty capsids of the virus from which they are derived. VLPs are non-infectious, have a similar tropism to the natural virus, and show comparable cellular uptake and intracellular trafficking. Since its discovery, VLP technology has gained importance in biomedical research. Although most investigations into VLP technology have dealt with vaccine development, some research groups have demonstrated that VLPs could also represent a useful gene therapy delivery system. This review will focus on studies performed with VLPs from members of the Papillomaviridae and Polyomaviridae families.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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