The management of disorders of the nervous system remains a medical challenge. The key goals are to understand disease mechanisms, to validate therapeutic targets, and to develop new therapeutic strategies. Viral vector-mediated gene transfer can meet these goals and vectors based on lentiviruses have particularly useful features. Lentiviral vectors can deliver 8 kb of sequence, they mediate gene transfer into any neuronal cell type, expression and therapy are sustained, and normal cellular functions in vitro and in vivo are not compromised. After delivery into the nervous system they induce no significant immune responses, there are no unwanted side effects of the vectors per se to date, and manufacturing and safety testing for clinical applications are well advanced. There are now numerous examples of effective long-term treatment of animal models of neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, motor neuron diseases, lysosomal storage diseases, and spinal injury, using a range of therapeutic genes expressed in lentiviral vectors. Significant issues remain in some areas of neural gene therapy including defining the optimum therapeutic gene(s), increasing the specificity of delivery, regulating expression of potentially toxic genes, and designing clinically relevant strategies. We discuss the applications of lentiviral vectors in therapy and research and highlight the essential features that will ensure their translation to the clinic in the near future.
|Translated title of the contribution||Lentivirus-Mediated Gene Transfer to the Central Nervous System: Therapeutic and Research Applications|
|Pages (from-to)||1 - 9|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Human Gene Therapy|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2006|