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Biomaterials. 2013 Sep;34(29):7158-67. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.06.002. Epub 2013 Jun 22.

A review of therapeutic prospects of non-viral gene therapy in the retinal pigment epithelium.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.


Ocular gene therapy has been extensively explored in recent years as a therapeutic avenue to target diseases of the cornea, retina and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene therapy has shown promise in several RPE clinical trials but AAVs have limited payload capacity and potential immunogenicity. Traditionally however, non-viral alternatives have been plagued by low transfection efficiency, short-term expression and low expression levels. Recently, these drawbacks have begun to be overcome by the use of specialty carriers such as polylysine, liposomes, or polyethyleneimines, and by inclusion of suitable DNA elements to enhance gene expression and longevity. Recent advancements in the field have yielded non-viral vectors that have favorable safety profiles, lack immunogenicity, exhibit long-term elevated gene expression, and show efficient transfection in the retina and RPE, making them poised to transition to clinical applications. Here we discuss the advancements in nanotechnology and vector engineering that have improved the prospects for clinical application of non-viral gene therapy in the RPE.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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