Exploring the use of Cytomegalovirus to extend life: Unlocking the potential of endemic viruses for gene therapy

Use of an Endemic Viral Gene Therapy for Life Extending

Researchers have demonstrated in a PNAS study that telomerase reverse transcriptionase can be delivered to living cells of mice via a viral vector. This brings the science fiction idea of life-extending genes therapies to reality.

Why is a cytomegalovirus necessary?

Human cytomegaloviruses (CMVs) are well-known as an endemic, asymptomatic virus. However, it can have harmful effects on babies and older people. Some of the virus’s properties, however, make it suitable for gene therapy. Considering that cytomegaloviruses are able to carry large amounts of genetic material and do not overwrite their host cell’s DNA [1], it may be safer to replace the genes of the viruses with beneficial DNA than other approaches. Development in this field is ongoing and a phase one human clinical trial was already conducted.

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Using an Endemic Virus as a Gene Therapy for Life Extension

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