Drug Treatments

Diagram of AAV vector for gene transfer.[11]

Parvoviral Infection Treatment

There really is no specific treatment for a B-19 parvoviral infection other than treating the symptoms of immuno-competent individuals, even in the case of Fifth Disease in children. The most common treatment for the arthritic symptoms is usually non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen or naproxen. These workk by blocking chemokines, cell signal molecules that draw T cells to sites of infection or injury and allow them to pass through from the blood into the tissue. However, in cases of people who are immuno-deficient (including AIDS and other such immune diseases) monoclonal antibodies have been very useful in eliminating the acute viral infection. In AIDS cases, the virus causes a persistent infection, so the immunoglobulin treatment must be repeated when the anemmia relapses. It's interesting to note that this thereapy can induce the rash of arthritic joint symptoms seen in Fifth Disease, as is expected of a reaction caused by the immune response to the virus rather than the virus itself.

Adeno-associated virus as a vector for human gene therapy

Extensive research has been done in regards to using AAV for gene transduction into human cells. In vivo, scientists have been able to stable transduce human genes into all different types of cells, including hematopoietic stem cells and progenitor cells, lung, liver, and heart cells, and even neuronal cells. Gene therapy with an AAV vector has proven helpful in cystic fibrosis cases as well as myocardiitis patients. One very important application has to do with transducing cancerous cells. Ponnazhagan and Hoover showed that tumor cells could be successfully transduced using a vector containing GFP. In another study, angiostatin was transduced using an AAV vector (angiostatin inhibits tumor growth by inhibiting the growth and function of endothelial cells [Lalani, et al.]. The figure to the left is taken from their paper and shows the success at reducing tumor growth using their anti-tumor vector. It is very exciting to see the advent of a whole new type of treatment that may one day be able to tackle the behemoth problem of genetic disorders. Adeno-associated viral vectors may open up the flood gates of gene therapy in the years to come.