Advanced Therapies: 'Artificial' vectors

Despite all the work done in gene therapy, the design of good vectors for delivery of therapeutic genes remains one of the field's key challenges. The key has been to use the chemically desirable elements of a virus without producing a toxic reaction in patients.

With a live viral vector, even after extensive processing and reduction, toxic elements often will persist along with the desirable parts derived from the organism. Side effects may include inflammation, which can overwhelm the benefits of the therapeutic molecule.