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PiggyBac as a novel vector in cancer gene therapy: current perspective


Selection of suitable delivery system is one of the crucial aspects in gene therapy that determines the efficiency of gene therapy. The past two decades have witnessed extensive efforts for finding safe and efficient vectors to overcome the limitations of viral vectors. The utilization of DNA transposon-based vectors for gene therapy has emerged as a promising non-viral alternative. DNA ‘cut-and-paste’ is one of the main mechanisms of genome engineering by transposon elements. However, the lack of an efficient transposition system has limited the utilization of transposon vectors in mice and mammalian systems. PiggyBac (PB) is known as a highly efficient DNA transposon originally isolated from Trichoplusia ni as an alternative to Sleeping Beauty (SB). It has been shown that PB can be functional in various species including mammalian systems. This vector could overcome some limitations of other vectors in cancer gene therapy. Some advantages of PB include the capacity for integration into the genome and providing a stable expression, capacity to harbor 10 and 9.1 kb of foreign DNA into the host genome, without a significant reduction in their transposition activity and display non-overlapping targeting preferences. However, to advance PB to clinical applications, some obstacles still require to be overcome to improve its safety and efficiency. Hence, it seems that this vector could open new horizons in gene and cancer therapy.

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This work was supported by a grant from the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences.

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Correspondence to H R Mirzaei or R Salehi.

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Mirzaei, H., Sahebkar, A., Jaafari, M. et al. PiggyBac as a novel vector in cancer gene therapy: current perspective. Cancer Gene Ther 23, 45–47 (2016).

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