Professor - American Cancer Society & Laboratory of Genetics
Dr Inder M. Verma, a professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and American Cancer Society Professor of Molecular Biology, is one of the world's leading authorities on the development of viruses for gene therapy vectors. Dr. Verma uses genetically engineered viruses to insert new genes into cells that can then be returned to the body, where they produce the essential protein whose absence causes disease.
Dr. Verma and Salk colleagues developed a gene therapy vector, based on a stripped-down version of HIV, that can deliver genes to non-dividing cells, which constitute the majority of the cells in our bodies. They have used this vector successfully to deliver the clotting factor gene to laboratory animals and to transfer a therapeutic gene to retinal cells to mice with an inborn deficiency. Dr. Verma's group is also studying two genes implicated in familial breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, and recently demonstrated that their action is linked to the cell's division cycle and that BRCA1 regulates gene activity.