Monday, June 9, 2008

Also Hot: Diplomatic Immunity for Vectors

Also hot at the ASGT annual meeting: immunomodulation and gene transfer. The immune system has proven the bane of successful gene transfer (truth be told, there are other banes-like delivery). It confounds results. It causes toxicity. It stymies efficacy. It's unpredictable. It behaves one way in some tissues-the blood- and another way in other tissues- the gut.

Talk after talk was devoted to ways of better managing immune responses in gene transfer studies. This consisted of recruiting: cancer gene transfer researcher Steven Albelda spoke about ways to reduce inhibition of immune response within tumors so that immune-based strategies can work against cancer. Antonio Chiocca discussed how the immune system thwarts cancer virotherapy (that is, use of viruses that selectively infect and destroy tumor cells) and how, in his estimate, translating this approach will require dampening the immune response of patients.  Along a similar vein, researchers in Quebec and Netherlands showed encouraging results using short-term immunosuppression in a protocol using AAV vectors against a rare genetic disease, lipoprotein lipase deficiency. (photo credit: Miss Starr, Neutrophil migrating across bone marrow, 2007)

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