, Volume 41, Issue 12, pp 1401-1409

Prospects for gene therapy of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus


The application of gene therapy to Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus awaits improvements in gene transfer technologies and the development of better tools for accurate diagnosis of pre-diabetic people. Identification of the most promising candidate genes for gene transfer requires further elucidation of the molecular events involved in beta-cell autoimmune destruction, islet ontogeny and differentiation, and beta-cell function. This review outlines a number of possible targets for gene therapy in Type I diabetes, which could help prevent the autoimmune damage to islets, induce islet regeneration, and restore insulin production through engineering of self non-beta cells or beta-cell transplantation. It also evaluates their potential merits and drawbacks. [Diabetologia (1998) 41: 1401–1409]