Sidebar: Summary Table of Vectors
PROGRESS: Forrest Anthony says some FDA concerns have been allayed.
According to the Pasteur Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Paris, 216 gene therapy protocols with human patients-treating diseases such as cystic fibrosis, cancer, and AIDS-are under way worldwide.
In the vast majority, therapeutic genes are packed into disarmed viruses, which shuttle the genetic payload into a cell's chromosomes.
These viral vectors require the expertise of virologists, biochemists, and molecular biologists, among others. Meanwhile, nonviral vectors-for example, synthetic molecules that tote therapeutic genes-call for biophysicists and analytical chemists.
Gene therapy researchers agree that finding-or creating-viable vectors is of...