Can gene therapy prevent herpesvirus infection?

  • 1 Replies

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Noel Davies

  • Guest
Can gene therapy prevent herpesvirus infection?
« on: 21/02/2009 16:30:02 »
Noel  asked the Naked Scientists:
Page 8 in New Scientist 21st Feb indicates that gene therapy can be used for preventing HIV from entering white blood cells.

Is there any similar work going on to eliminate or prevent Herpes viruses
from infecting us?

Great show,

Noel Davies

What do you think?


Offline DrN

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 815
    • View Profile
Can gene therapy prevent herpesvirus infection?
« Reply #1 on: 03/03/2009 23:11:28 »
Hmm. For gene therapy to prevent HIV from entering cells, the protein receptor(s) that mediates virus binding and entry would have to be altered. This is possible, but i can't help wondering what implications this would have. Our proteins are generally like they are for a reason, and pathogens take advantage of this for their gain. It may be a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face! Of course, there may well be a way to modify the gene (and therefore the protein) so that it doesn't compromise its function, but also prevents HIV viruses from binding and/or entering the cell. Also, HIV - like most viruses - mutate very rapidly, so it may only work for a while ...

I don't know if there is any specfic research into gene therapy and herpes, although I must admit I doubt it (prove me wrong someone!) but the same problems would apply. Interestingly, the herpes simplex virus is commonly used as a viral vector to mediate the delivery of gene therapy into the cell; I know its been tried for various cancers and for pain.