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Open Access Components of Gene Therapy Experimentation That Contribute to Relative Risk

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Gene therapy is the purposeful delivery of genetic material to somatic cells for the purpose of treating disease or biomedical investigation. Either viral or non-viral vector methods can be used. The risk of collateral exposure of laboratory animal care personnel to gene therapy vectors is dependent on a number of factors. These factors are intrinsic to the gene therapy vector (the vehicle for genetic conveyance), product encoded by the genetic construct delivered, method of delivery, and immune status of the recipient. The component risks of gene therapy experiments can be analyzed to surmise the overall relative risk of the experiment. Knowledge of the components that contribute potential hazardous risk to a study can assist animal care staff in identifying area(s) where prudent practices should be focused. Gene therapy experiments involving viral vectors are generally performed at either biosafety level 2 or 3. The objective of this review is to report on various components of gene therapy experiments, focusing on characteristics of viral and non-viral vectors, to assist the laboratory animal science community in determining prudent biosafety practices.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Comparative Medicine, Box 800737, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908

Publication date: 2003-04-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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