Adeno-associated virus as a gene therapy vector: vector development, production and clinical applications

Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2005;99:119-45.


Adeno-associated virus (AAV) has emerged as an attractive vector for gene therapy. AAV vectors have successfully been utilized to promote sustained gene expression in a variety of tissues such as muscle, eye, brain, liver, and lung. As the significance of AAV as a gene therapy vector has been realized over the past years, recent developments in recombinant AAV (rAAV) production and purification have revolutionized the AAV field. It is now possible to produce high yields of vector (10(12)-10(13) genome-containing particles per mL) that are free of contaminating cellular and helper virus proteins. Such vectors have been successfully used in preclinical applications in animal models such as those of hemophilia, lysosomal storage diseases and vision deficiency, all of which have shown therapeutic benefits from rAAV treatment. Clinical trials using rAAV2 for the treatment of hemophilia B, cystic fibrosis, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, and Canavan disease have begun, and reports from these phase I trials support the safety seen in preclinical trials. Eventually, tissue-specific vectors that can potentially evade the immune system will be required to optimize success in gene therapy. In recent years, this has led to the development of retargeted rAAV2 vectors and the identification and characterization of new serotypes from human and nonhuman primates that could potentially achieve these goals. AAV virologists and gene therapists alike have just begun to scratch the surface in terms of the utility of this small virus in a clinical setting. In this chapter, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the recent advances in rAAV vector production and purification, vector development, and clinical applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dependovirus / genetics*
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Humans