Viral Gene Therapy: Use DNA to prevent heart failure

Viral Gene Therapy
Time to complete course: 42 min.

About the Viral Gene Therapy Virtual Lab Simulation

Does using viruses as a form of therapy sound like science fiction to you? This may come as a surprise, but it’s actually a technique on the rise used to deliver functional genes into patients. In the Viral Gene Therapy simulation, you will learn about the use of modified viruses and how to equip them with therapeutic genes. Take advantage of the recent exciting research findings in the field, and try to develop a potential cure for heart failure. Will you be able to design a virus that can help to revert heart failure in patients?

Using viruses to cure heart failure

The student will attend a seminar highlighting the causes and symptoms of heart failure, and will have to use gene therapy as a promising way for a treatment based on a particular gene. The student will learn the principles behind the concept of gene therapy and pseudovirus production, and apply them to the present study case of heart failure.

Pseudovirus production and testing

The student will perform a fitness test with mice to validate a gene as a therapeutic target for gene therapy. Next, they will have to produce the viral capsids containing the therapeutic gene through transfection of the relevant plasmids and observe them through an electron microscope. Finally, the efficiency of the produced viruses will be tested on mice again. Since this is a virtual lab, no real animals will be harmed in this experiment, and results are available immediately compared to the expected 5 weeks of incubation.

Test your gene therapy treatment

Once you have designed your gene therapy treatment and produced your viruses containing a therapeutic gene, it will be time to test it on mice affected with heart failure. Will you be able to find a cure for this genetic condition?

Get Started Now

Take advantage of the recent exciting research findings in the field, and try to develop a potential cure for heart failure. Will you be able to design a virus to help revert heart failure in patients?

Techniques In Lab

  • Co-transfection of mammalian cells
  • Viral vector production
  • Electron microscopy

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to…

  • Explain the use of gene therapy for the treatment of heart failure
  • Explain the causes of heart failure
  • Design a viralmediated gene therapy approach
  • Define “therapeutic gene”
  • Describe the anatomy and function of the heart from a healthy person vs. a heart failure patient
  • Produce replicationdefective recombinant adenoassociated virus (rAAV)

Screenshots of Viral Gene Therapy Virtual Lab Simulation


Dr. Nelson Chong

Dr. Nelson Chong

Department of Life Sciences
University of Westminster

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