New Delivery Device for Protein Therapeutics and Vaccines
Summary Harvard's researchers have developed a new device for protein and gene delivery. It makes use of the unique ability of unicellular organism protozoa to infect a host, evade their immune defense, and target specific tissues. Protozoa are single-celled, independently living eukaryotic organisms. Some of these species are pathogenic while others have no detectable adverse effects or pathologies. Protozoa spread from one host to another through a variety of methods. In the United States, approximately half of the population is infected with the species of Toxoplasma, primarily through direct physical contact with the domestic cat. Entamoeba, which live in the human gut, are transmitted through drinking water. Other protozoa, such as the malaria Plasmodium and Leishmania, are transmitted via insect vectors. With this technology, the genome of Leishmania can be altered to lack a naturally-occurring nucleotide sequence responsible for a selectable phenotype. Additionally, their genome can encode an expression product for sustained delivery. The expression product is typically a hormone, enzyme or neurotransmitter. Additional levels of control on protozoa can be accomplished with the use of antimicrobials and suicide genes. It is therefore possible for the clinician to control or even to completely eliminate the therapeutic protozoa from the patient.
US 6,410,250 issued June 25, 2002.
Applications Traditional drug administration requires the drug being transportable to its site of action and systemic administration may lead to undesirable side effects. Gene therapy is often mediated by viral vectors and can result in undesirable alteration of the recipient's genome. There is therefore a need for effective devices and methods for delivering physiologically useful compounds to any desired site of action in a controlled fashion.
Beverley, Stephen M.
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