1. Rhadinoviral T-cell vectors

The T-lymphotropic rhadinovirus herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) transforms human T cells to stable growth in culture, which then proliferate independently of antigen or mitogen and retain the antigen-specificity and many other features of their parental clones. The virus is not released from the transformed cells and persists in form of non-integrated episomes. These features of HVS are promising for the amplification of functional T cells and for gene transfer and functional expression of foreign genes in this cell type. We apply this episomal gene transfer system for instance for the redirection of T-cellular antigen specificity towards tumor antigens in experimental immunotherapy.