The use of integrating vectors for gene therapy — required for stable correction of gene expression — carries the risk of insertional mutagenesis, which can lead to activation of a tumorigenic program. In this issue of the JCI, Moiani et al. and Cesana et al. investigate how viral vectors can induce aberrant splicing, resulting in chimeric cellular-viral transcripts. The finding that this is a general phenomenon is concerning, but some of their results do suggest approaches for the development of safeguards in gene therapy vector design.
Vector-induced chimeric transcripts.