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J Dent Res. 2009 Jul;88(7):585-96. doi: 10.1177/0022034509337480.

Gene therapy: design and prospects for craniofacial regeneration.

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  • 1Department. of Biologic and Materials Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, 1011 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1078, USA.


Gene therapy is defined as the treatment of disease by transfer of genetic material into cells. This review will explore methods available for gene transfer as well as current and potential applications for craniofacial regeneration, with emphasis on future development and design. Though non-viral gene delivery methods are limited by low gene transfer efficiency, they benefit from relative safety, low immunogenicity, ease of manufacture, and lack of DNA insert size limitation. In contrast, viral vectors are nature's gene delivery machines that can be optimized to allow for tissue-specific targeting, site-specific chromosomal integration, and efficient long-term infection of dividing and non-dividing cells. In contrast to traditional replacement gene therapy, craniofacial regeneration seeks to use genetic vectors as supplemental building blocks for tissue growth and repair. Synergistic combination of viral gene therapy with craniofacial tissue engineering will significantly enhance our ability to repair and replace tissues in vivo.

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