Biophysics Meets Gene Therapy: How Exploring Supercoiling-Dependent Structural Changes in DNA Led to the Development of Minivector DNA
We hypothesized that, because of their small size and lack of bacterial sequences, these small supercoiled DNA circles may be efficient at delivering DNA into cells for gene therapy applications. "Minivectors," as we named them for this application, have proven to have therapeutic potential. We discovered that minivectors efficiently transfect a wide range of cell types, including many clinically important cell lines that are refractory to transfection with conventional plasmid vectors. Minivectors can be aerosolized for delivery to lungs and transfect human cells in culture to express RNA or genes. Importantly, minivectors demonstrate no obvious vector-associated toxicity. Minivectors can be repeatedly delivered and are long-lasting without integrating into the genome.
Requests from colleagues around the world for minicircle and minivector DNA revealed a demand for our invention. We successfully obtained start-up funding for Twister Biotech, Inc. to help fulfill this demand, providing DNA for those who needed it, with a long-term goal of developing human therapeutics. In summary, what started as a tool for studying DNA structure has taken us in new and unanticipated directions.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 1, 2019
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