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Vet Ophthalmol. 2012 Sep;15 Suppl 2:29-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-5224.2012.01054.x. Epub 2012 Aug 6.

Viral vectors for targeting the canine retina: a review.

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  • 1Veterinary Medical Center, Michigan State University, 736 Wilson Road, D-208, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


Clinical trials are currently underway using gene therapy to treat retinal disease such as Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). Viral vectors that have been utilized to target retinal cells include adenoviruses, lentiviruses, and recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAV). Of the three classes, rAAV vectors show the greatest promise for retinal gene therapy. Recent developments in virus technology such as the development of hybrid and capsid mutant rAAV vectors mean that specific retinal cells can be targeted and faster stronger transgene expression is now possible compared to that achieved with the first generation of vectors. Gene therapy trials in dogs have been very important in the development of therapy for RPE65 LCA which is currently in phase I/II clinical trials in humans. Recent successes in using gene therapy to treat canine achromatopsia, X-linked progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and the more severe rapid degenerations such as rod-cone dysplasia type 3 may lead also to the translation to human clinical trials. Dogs have played and continue to play an important role as animal models for proof-of-concept studies of retinal gene therapy. As modifications and improvements in gene therapy protocols are made from experience gathered from human clinical trials perhaps gene therapy for the treatment of canine clinical patients will become available to veterinary ophthalmologists.

© 2012 American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.

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