New medical uses for the Kunjin virus

Published on April 12, 2005 at 11:33 AM · No Comments

Queensland Government scientists at the Department of Health Services have collaborated with scientists at the University of Queensland (UQ) and The Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) to discover new medical uses for the Kunjin virus.

"The Kunjin virus is an Australian native member of the flavivirus family, which is geographically restricted to Northern Australia" said Associate Professor Alex Khromykh, who developed the technology at the Sir Albert Sakzewski Virus Research Centre (Queensland Health).

"Genetic engineering techniques have been used to design novel, safe and non-infectious forms of Kunjin that show early promise as gene delivery vectors. These vectors may be used for the delivery of vaccines and gene therapy treatments to treat important diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cancer" says Assoc. Prof. Khromykh. "The KUNrep technology also has significant prospects as a new method for the production of therapeutic proteins, which may be used by many of the world's pharmaceutical companies" said Assoc. Prof. Khromykh.

Replikun Biotech Pty Ltd (Replikun), a start-up company, has been formed by QIMR to further develop and commercialise the KUNrep technology.

"This is a wonderful example of the Queensland Government's Smart State initiative in action where intellectual property was discovered by scientists in the government sector at the Department of Health Services and then collaboratively developed further with scientists at QIMR and UQ" said the Premier, the Honorable Peter Beattie.

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