Viral Vector Translational Resource Center

Type of Award: Catalyst
Award Number:
Award Period: July 2006 - June 2007
Amount Awarded: $ 100,000.00
PI(s): Martha C. Bohn, PhD, NU; Raymond Roos, MD, UChicago; Scott Brady, PhD, UIC;

Abstract: The CBC Viral Vector Translational Resource Center will promote gene therapy studies in Chicago in the field of neuroscience, by constructing the viral vectors that are necessary for introducing new DNA into diseased cells. A viral vector is basically an artificial virus and is made using genetic engineering techniques to replace virus genes with genes of scientific interest. The engineered viral vector can be used to infect the patient and instead of causing disease, the viral vector is designed to deliver new healthy genes to specific cells.

Gene therapy for human disease is gaining momentum as a direct result of information coming from the genome project. Gene delivery by viral vectors is also useful for generating novel experimental models of disease in animals and for making genetically modified stem cells. The CBC Viral Vector Resource center will produce high quality research-grade stocks of two types of viruses known to be useful for understanding gene function in the nervous system: adeno-associated virus (AAV) and lentivirus (LV). The viruses are modified so that they are merely tools for delivering experimental or therapeutic genes to cells. New virus or disease does not result from infecting cells with these viruses. The viruses will be made for approved projects on a no-strings-attached basis at a subsidized fee for service. The center will also provide advice on the use of these viruses and gene therapy study design.

A Steering Committee composed of faculty at the three institutions will take an active role in promoting the center and approving projects on a scientific merit basis. It is expected that approved projects will lead to novel gene therapies. The CBC center is an important step toward establishing the first National Viral Vector Translational Resource Center in the country to promote gene therapies for neurological disorders.