European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

, Volume 32, Supplement 2, pp S346-S357

First online:

Human gene therapy and imaging: cardiology

  • Joseph C. WuAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Division of Cardiology & Department of Radiology, Division of Nuclear Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine Email author 
  • , Seppo Yla-HerttualaAffiliated withA.I.Virtanen Institute, University of Kuopio

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This review discusses the basics of cardiovascular gene therapy, the results of recent human clinical trials, and the rapid progress in imaging techniques in cardiology. Improved understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of coronary heart disease has made gene therapy a potential new alternative for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Experimental studies have established the proof-of-principle that gene transfer to the cardiovascular system can achieve therapeutic effects. First human clinical trials provided initial evidence of feasibility and safety of cardiovascular gene therapy. However, phase II/III clinical trials have so far been rather disappointing and one of the major problems in cardiovascular gene therapy has been the inability to verify gene expression in the target tissue. New imaging techniques could significantly contribute to the development of better gene therapeutic approaches. Although the exact choice of imaging modality will depend on the biological question asked, further improvement in image resolution and detection sensitivity will be needed for all modalities as we move from imaging of organs and tissues to imaging of cells and genes.


Cardiac heart disease Gene therapy Clinical trials Imaging techniques