Wide awake and ready to move: 20 years of non-viral therapeutic genome engineering with the Sleeping Beauty transposon system


  • R. Hodge
  • S. Narayanavari
  • Z. Izsvák
  • Z. Ivics


  • Human Gene Therapy


  • Hum Gene Ther 28 (10): 842-855


  • Gene therapies will only become a widespread tool in the clinical treatment of human diseases with the advent of gene transfer vectors that integrate genetic information stably, safely, effectively, and economically. Two decades after the discovery of the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon, it has been transformed into a vector system that is fulfilling these requirements. SB may well overcome some of the limitations associated with viral gene transfer vectors and transient non-viral gene delivery approaches that are being used in the majority of ongoing clinical trials. The SB system has achieved a high level of stable gene transfer and sustained transgene expression in multiple primary human somatic cell types, representing crucial steps that may permit its clinical use in the near future. This article reviews the most important aspects of SB as a tool for gene therapy, including aspects of its vectorization and genomic integration. As an illustration, the clinical development of the SB system toward gene therapy of age-related macular degeneration and cancer immunotherapy is highlighted.