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Intern Med. 2004 Feb;43(2):85-96.

Perspectives for gene therapy in renal diseases.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita, Osaka 565-0871.


Somatic cell gene therapy has made considerable progress last five years and has shown clear success in some clinical trials. In the field of nephrology, both the elucidation of pathophysiology of renal diseases and the development of gene transfer technique have become driving force for new therapy of incurable renal diseases, such as Alport syndrome and polycystic kidney disease. Gene therapy of renal cancer, although its application is limited to advanced cancer, is the front-runner of clinical application. Erythropoietin gene therapy has provided encouraging results for the treatment of anemia in uremic rats and recently progressed to the inducible one in response to hypoxia. Gene therapy for glomerulonephritis and renal fibrosis showed prominent impact on experimental models, although the safety must be confirmed for prolonged treatment. Transplant kidney is an ideal material for gene modification and induction of tolerance in the transplant kidney is an attractive challenge. Emerging techniques are becoming available such as stem cell technology and messenger RNA silencing strategies. We believe that the future of gene therapy research is exciting and promising and it holds an enormous potential for clinical application.

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