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Hum Gene Ther. 2019 Aug;30(8):923-945. doi: 10.1089/hum.2019.026. Epub 2019 May 30.

New Frontiers of Corneal Gene Therapy.

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1Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
2Fondazione Banca Degli Occhi Del Veneto Onlus, Zelarino, Venezia, Italy.


Corneal diseases are among the most prevalent causes of blindness worldwide. The transparency and clarity of the cornea are guaranteed by a delicate physiological, anatomic, and functional balance. For this reason, all the disorders, including those of genetic origin, that compromise this state of harmony can lead to opacity and eventually vision loss. Many corneal disorders have a genetic etiology, and some are associated with rather rare and complex syndromes. Conventional treatments, such as corneal transplantation, are often ineffective, and to date, many of these disorders are still incurable. Gene therapy carries the promise of being a potential cure for many of these diseases, with solutions and strategies that did not seem possible until a few years ago. With its potential to treat genetic disease by means of deletion, replacement, or editing of a defective gene, the challenge can also be extended to corneal disorders in order to achieve long-term, if not definitive, relief. The aim of this paper is to review the state of the art of the different gene therapy approaches as potential treatments for corneal diseases and the future perspectives for the development of personalized gene-based medicine.


corneal diseases; corneal neovascularization; corneal transplantation; gene therapy; non-viral vectors; viral vectors

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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