• Innovative strategies for treatment of soft tissue injuries in human and animal athletes.

      Hoffmann, Andrea; Gross, Gerhard; Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. Andrea.Hoffmann@helmholtz-hzi.de (2009)
      Our aim is to review the recent progress in the management of musculoskeletal disorders. We will cover novel therapeutic approaches based on growth factors, gene therapy and cells, including stem cells, which may be combined with each other as appropriate. We focus mainly on the treatment of soft tissue injuries - muscle, cartilage, and tendon/ligament for both human and animal athletes. The need for innovative strategies results from the fact that despite all efforts, the current strategies for cartilage and tendon/ligament still result in the formation of functionally and biomechanically inferior tissues after injury (a phenomenon called 'repair' as opposed to proper 'regeneration'), whereas the outcome for muscle is more favorable. Innovative approaches are urgently needed not only to enhance the outcome of conservative or surgical procedures but also to speed up the healing process from the very long disabling periods, which is of special relevance for athletes.
    • Integrated strategy for the production of therapeutic retroviral vectors.

      Carrondo, Manuel; Panet, Amos; Wirth, Dagmar; Coroadinha, Ana Sofia; Cruz, Pedro; Falk, Haya; Schucht, Roland; Dupont, Francis; Geny-Fiamma, Cécile; Merten, Otto-Wilhelm; et al. (2011-03)
      The broad application of retroviral vectors for gene delivery is still hampered by the difficulty to reproducibly establish high vector producer cell lines generating sufficient amounts of highly concentrated virus vector preparations of high quality. To enhance the process for producing clinically relevant retroviral vector preparations for therapeutic applications, we have integrated novel and state-of-the-art technologies in a process that allows rapid access to high-efficiency vector-producing cells and consistent production, purification, and storage of retroviral vectors. The process has been designed for various types of retroviral vectors for clinical application and to support a high-throughput process. New modular helper cell lines that permit rapid insertion of DNA encoding the therapeutic vector of interest at predetermined, optimal chromosomal loci were developed to facilitate stable and high vector production levels. Packaging cell lines, cultivation methods, and improved medium composition were coupled with vector purification and storage process strategies that yield maximal vector infectivity and stability. To facilitate GMP-grade vector production, standard of operation protocols were established. These processes were validated by production of retroviral vector lots that drive the expression of type VII collagen (Col7) for the treatment of a skin genetic disease, dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. The potential efficacy of the Col7-expressing vectors was finally proven with newly developed systems, in particular in target primary keratinocyte cultures and three-dimensional skin tissues in organ culture.
    • Retroviral vector performance in defined chromosomal Loci of modular packaging cell lines.

      Gama-Norton, L; Herrmann, S; Schucht, R; Coroadinha, A S; Löw, R; Alves, P M; Bartholomae, C C; Schmidt, M; Baum, C; Schambach, A; et al. (2010-08)
      The improvement of safety and titer of retroviral vectors produced in standard retroviral packaging cell lines is hampered because production relies on uncontrollable vector integration events. The influences of chromosomal surroundings make it difficult to dissect the performance of a specific vector from the chromosomal surroundings of the respective integration site. Taking advantage of a technology that relies on the use of packaging cell lines with predefined integration sites, we have systematically evaluated the performance of several retroviral vectors. In two previously established modular packaging cell lines (Flp293A and 293 FLEX) with single, defined chromosomal integration sites, retroviral vectors were integrated by means of Flp-mediated site-specific recombination. Vectors that are distinguished by different long terminal repeat promoters were introduced in either the sense or reverse orientation. The results show that the promoter, viral vector orientation, and integration site are the main determinants of the titer. Furthermore, we exploited the viral production systems to evaluate read-through activity. Read-through is thought to be caused by inefficient termination of vector transcription and is inherent to the nature of retroviral vectors. We assessed the frequency of transduction of sequences flanking the retroviral vectors from both integration sites. The approach presented here provides a platform for systematic design and evaluation of the efficiency and safety of retroviral vectors optimized for a given producer cell line.