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Oncolytic Viruses – Going to New Lengths

Virus are a staple in science for recombining DNA and can be used to develop viral vaccines or as vectors in gene therapy.  With the progress made in next generation sequencing, designing nucleic acid constructs and genomes can happen in hours and days rather than weeks and months.  Leading scientist, Bruce Smith, V.M.D., Ph.D. at Auburn University have fully synthesized the genome of an oncolytic virus.  The virus, sCAV2 is a replicative adenovirus synthesized with the Gen9’s BioFab DNA platform.  The chip-based technology is designed to produce high volume of long DNA constructs.  In the case of the sVAC2 virus, the platform produces the longest ever synthesized virus at 34,000 base pairs long.

The oncolytic virus only affects tumor cells, destroying them and not harming the healthy non-cancerous cells.  The virus is currently being used in canine cancers, particularly osteosarcoma.  Dr. Smith is very positive about the possibilities that come with applications of this technology.  “The technology to create a new virus by synthesizing it is a huge leap, but the ability to then make a customized virus tailored to the specific needs of each patient will be transformative,” said Dr. Smith. “This could change the way we fight cancer. It is that revolutionary.”

Check at more details at Auburn University or Gen9’s press release.