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Dev Biol (Basel). 2006;123:251-63; discussion 265-6.

Tumorigenicity assessments of Per.C6 cells and of an Ad5-vectored HIV-1 vaccine produced on this continuous cell line.

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  • 1Department of Safety Assessment, Merck Research Laboratories, Merck & Co., Inc., West Point, Pennsylvania 19486-0004, USA.


PER.C6, a cell line derived from human embryonic retinal cells transformed with the Adenovirus Type 5 (Ad5) E1A and E1B genes, is used to produce E1-deleted Ad5 vectors such as the MRKAd5 HIV-1 gag vaccine. While whole, live PER.C6 cells are capable of growing as tumours when transplanted subcutaneously into immunodeficient nude mice at a high dosage, the process for vaccine production includes filtration steps and other methods which effectively preclude contamination by intact viable substrate cells. However, because of the neoplastic nature of this cell line, we carried out a series of investigations to assess the tumorigenic risk posed by residuals from the cell substrate in a vaccine. To address concerns about transmission of oncogenic DNA, we demonstrated that purified PER.C6 cellular DNA does not induce tumours in newborn hamsters or nude mice. To address concerns about other potential residuals, including hypothetical adventitious tumour viruses, we demonstrated that a PER.C6 cell lysate and a MRKAd5 HIV-1 gag vaccine produced on PER.C6 cells do not induce tumours in newborn hamsters or newborn rats. These results, in conjunction with the wide panel of viral safety tests performed on these cells, support the safety of the PER.C6 as a cell substrate for vaccine production.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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