Coacervate microspheres as carriers of recombinant adenoviruses

Cancer Gene Ther. Mar-Apr 1999;6(2):107-12. doi: 10.1038/sj.cgt.7700025.


The therapeutic utility of recombinant adenoviruses (rAds) is limited in part by difficulties in directing the viruses to specific sites and by the requirement for bolus administration, both of which limit the efficiency of target tissue infection. As a first step toward overcoming these limitations, rAds were encapsulated in coacervate microspheres comprised of gelatin and alginate followed by stabilization with calcium ions. Ultrastructural evaluation showed that the microspheres formed in this manner were 0.8-10 microM in diameter, with viruses evenly distributed. The microspheres achieved a sustained release of adenovirus with a nominal loss of bioactivity. The pattern of release and the total amount of virus released was modified by changes in microsphere formulation. Administration of the adenovirus-containing microspheres to human tumor nodules engrafted in mice showed that the viral transgene was transferred to the tumor cells. It is concluded that coacervate microspheres can be used to encapsulate bioactive rAd and release it in a time-dependent manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Cytomegalovirus / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microspheres*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy
  • Time Factors


  • Luciferases
  • Calcium