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Discov Med. 2014 Sep;18(98):151-61.

State-of-the-art human gene therapy: part II. Gene therapy strategies and clinical applications.

Author information

1
Gene Therapy Center, University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.
2
Gene Therapy Center and Department of Microbiology and Physiology Systems, University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, Worcester, MA 01605, USA and State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

Abstract

In Part I of this Review (Wang and Gao, 2014), we introduced recent advances in gene delivery technologies and explained how they have powered some of the current human gene therapy applications. In Part II, we expand the discussion on gene therapy applications, focusing on some of the most exciting clinical uses. To help readers to grasp the essence and to better organize the diverse applications, we categorize them under four gene therapy strategies: (1) gene replacement therapy for monogenic diseases, (2) gene addition for complex disorders and infectious diseases, (3) gene expression alteration targeting RNA, and (4) gene editing to introduce targeted changes in host genome. Human gene therapy started with the simple idea that replacing a faulty gene with a functional copy can cure a disease. It has been a long and bumpy road to finally translate this seemingly straightforward concept into reality. As many disease mechanisms unraveled, gene therapists have employed a gene addition strategy backed by a deep knowledge of what goes wrong in diseases and how to harness host cellular machinery to battle against diseases. Breakthroughs in other biotechnologies, such as RNA interference and genome editing by chimeric nucleases, have the potential to be integrated into gene therapy. Although clinical trials utilizing these new technologies are currently sparse, these innovations are expected to greatly broaden the scope of gene therapy in the near future.

PMID:
25227756
PMCID:
PMC4440458
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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