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Gene Therapy against Kaposi´s sarcoma


At the University of Heidelberg researchers set out to try gene therapy against Kaposi's sarcoma. This vessel tumor is caused by a new herpes virus called HHV-8 and affects homosexual patients much more frequently than patients of other risk groups. This tumor generally occurs at the skin and the mucosa, but can also affect organs such as the lungs, GI-tract and bone marrow causing bleeding.

Due to the side effects of chemotherapy that is frequently used for the treatment of widespread disease, new therapeutic options are clearly warranted. In the project, an adeno-associated virus will be designed to selectively infect and destroy the sarcoma cells. Adeno-associated virus is a shuttle taxi in gene therapy that does not cause any human disease and is therefore safe.

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