Professor Jean Luc Darlix, Outstanding French Virologist Visits The Fundación
October 18, 2007
Dr. Jean Luc Darlix of the Unity for Human Virology of the National Institute of Health and Medical Investigation (INSERM), Lyon, France was invited by Dr. Nicole Tischler from the Foundation to give a seminar about “HIV and SIV-based lentivectors for efficient gene delivery into human cells” in the auditorium Enrique Méndez C.
Dr. Darlix is an internationally outstanding virologist who obtained his doctoral degree in 1970 in natural sciences in Paris. He developed his work in the best Centers in New York, Geneva and Toulouse until he founded almost 20 years ago the Human Virology department at the INSERM in Lyon. Today his work is dedicated to understand the structure and replication of HIV and hepatitis C virus and to search for antiviral drugs to inhibit these viruses. His work also includes the development of different lentiviral vectors, widely used for research purposes around the world.
His seminar at the Foundation was oriented at describing the last generation of lentiviral vectors, particles used to deliver genetic information into the genome of the host cells. These vectors are primarily a research tool used to introduce genes into in vitro systems or animal models. These genes can express a new gene product or may express RNA to block the expression of intrinsic cellular genes by means of interference RNAs. Thus, this technology permits researchers to examine the effects of a given gene in a model system. These studies can be the origin of new the developments leading to novel drugs.
Lentiviral infection has clear advantages over other gene-therapy methods, including high-efficiency of infection of dividing and non-dividing cells, long-term stable expression of a transgene, and low immunogenicity. However, most current gene therapy experiments are yet to be established as safe and effective in controlled human studies.
Currently, Dr. Nicole Tischler is working at the Foundation on the Chilean Hantavirus species Andes with the aim to characterize the cell entry mechanism used by this virus to infect target cells. The use of lentivectors in collaboration with Dr. Jean Luc Darlix will open her new perspectives.