News Column

Investigators from National Institutes of Health Zero in on Leukemia Gene Therapy

May 26, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Cancer Gene Therapy Week -- Research findings on Biotechnology are discussed in a new report. According to news originating from Bethesda, Maryland, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, "Retroviruses integrate into the host genome in patterns specific to each virus. Understanding the causes of these patterns can provide insight into viral integration mechanisms, pathology and genome evolution, and is critical to the development of safe gene therapy vectors."

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the National Institutes of Health, "We generated murine leukemia virus integrations in human HepG2 and K562 cells and subjected them to second-generation sequencing, using a DNA barcoding technique that allowed us to quantify independent integration events. We characterized > 3 700 000 unique integration events in two ENCODE-characterized cell lines. We find that integrations were most highly enriched in a subset of strong enhancers and active promoters. In both cell types, approximately half the integrations were found in < 2% of the genome, demonstrating genomic influences even narrower than previously believed. The integration pattern of murine leukemia virus appears to be largely driven by regions that have high enrichment for multiple marks of active chromatin; the combination of histone marks present was sufficient to explain why some strong enhancers were more prone to integration than others."

According to the news editors, the research concluded: "The approach we used is applicable to analyzing the integration pattern of any exogenous element and could be a valuable preclinical screen to evaluate the safety of gene therapy vectors."

For more information on this research see: MLV integration site selection is driven by strong enhancers and active promoters. Nucleic Acids Research, 2014;42(7):4257-4269. Nucleic Acids Research can be contacted at: Oxford Univ Press, Great Clarendon St, Oxford OX2 6DP, England. (Oxford University Press -; Nucleic Acids Research -

The news correspondents report that additional information may be obtained from M.C. LaFave, NHGRI, Div Intramural Res, Genome Technol Branch, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, United States. Additional authors for this research include G.K. Varshney, D.E. Gildea, T.G. Wolfsberg, A.D. Baxevanis and S.M. Burgess (see also Biotechnology).

Keywords for this news article include: Biotechnology, Viruses, Bethesda, Maryland, Virology, United States, Bioengineering, Leukemia Gene Therapy, North and Central America

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Source: Cancer Gene Therapy Week

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