BCM Logo Minivector DNA, very small circular therapeutic DNA molecules, seem to have major implications for those diagnosed with any form of lung disease. A fresh investigation from the Baylor College of Medicine and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests that Minivectors can survive the stress of aerosolization and carry gene therapy deep into the lungs. This ability of the Minivectors to penetrate deep within the lungs possibly makes it an apt form of treatment for a host of lung diseases, including lung cancer and asthma.

Minivectors appear non-toxic, are typically modified viruses and survive longer than plasmids. Their capacity to resist shear forces associated with gene therapy delivery may help fight a number of human diseases through non-viral DNA gene therapy vectors. The newly developed Minivectors are as short as 250 base pairs and can supposedly survive the process needed to make droplets small enough to get deep into the tiny branches of the lung.

“Minivectors show tremendous promise because of their tiny size. Because our lungs are accessible through the nose and mouth, lung diseases can be treated simply by breathing in the prescribed drug. However, the drug must be put into tiny droplets and this requires significant force,” commented Dr. Jamie Catanese, postdoctoral associate in the Zechiedrich laboratory and first author on the publication.

In order to test the efficacy of Minivectors, scientists exposed these DNA molecules to aerosolization by means of a machine used in lung therapy. DNA destruction purportedly linked strongly with its length. Typical plasmids usually 3,000-plus base pairs, degraded quickly, while DNA in lengths of 2,000 to 3,000 base pairs reportedly survived about 10 minutes.

The research is published online in the journal Gene Therapy.