Lentiviral vectors may offer a safe way of delivering gene therapy in humans, according to a study in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In phase I clinical trials with five HIV-positive patients, researchers found that an HIV-based lentiviral vector was a safe and potentially effective way to deliver an anti-HIV gene."This is exactly what the field needs to see as a first step towards using these vectors in humans," said Paul McCray of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who was not involved in the study.Using lentiviruses such as HIV as vectors for gene therapy may avoid problems that have surfaced with conventional retrovirus vectors, said study leader Bruce Levine of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Some retroviral vectors have inserted into oncogene promoters and caused Cancer in treated patients, but lentiviruses tend not to integrate in these promoter regions. In previous...

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