Present and future of antisense therapy for splicing modulation in inherited metabolic disease
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- Pérez, B., Rodríguez-Pascau, L., Vilageliu, L. et al. J Inherit Metab Dis (2010) 33: 397. doi:10.1007/s10545-010-9135-1
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The number of mutations identified deep in introns which activate or create novel splice sites resulting in pathogenic pseudoexon inclusion in mRNA continues to grow for inherited metabolic disease (IMD) and other human genetic diseases. A common characteristic is that the native splice sites remain intact thus retaining the potential for normal splicing. Antisense oligonucleotides (AO) have been shown to modulate the splicing pattern by steric hindrance of the recognition and binding of the splicing apparatus to the selected sequences. In the case of pseudoexons, AO force the use of the natural splice sites, recovering normally spliced transcripts encoding functional protein. This review summarizes the present knowledge of antisense splicing modulation as a molecular therapy approach for pseudoexon-activating mutations, with a focus in IMD. Although the feasibility of treatment for patients with IMD has yet to be proven, it appears to be clinically promising, as positive results have been reported in cellular and animal models of disease, and antisense therapy for splicing modulation is currently in the clinical trials phase for Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. Here, we review the most recent advances in AO stability, targeting and delivery, and other issues to be considered for an effective treatment in the clinical setting. Although the number of patients who can be potentially treated is low for each IMD, it represents an excellent therapeutical option as a type of personalized molecular medicine which is especially relevant for diseases for which there is, to date, no efficient treatment.