Gene therapy is a potentially powerful approach to the treatment of neurological diseases. The discovery of neurotrophic factors inhibiting neurodegenerative processes and neurotransmitter-synthesizing enzymes provides the basis for current gene therapy strategies for Parkinson's disease. Genes can be transferred by viral or nonviral vectors. Of the various possible vectors, recombinant retroviruses are the most efficient for genetic modification of cells in vitro that can thereafter be used for transplantation (ex vivo gene therapy approach). Recently, in vivo gene transfer to the brain has been developed using adenovirus vectors. One of the advantages of recombinant adenovirus is that it can transduced both quiescent and actively dividing cells, thereby allowing both direct in vivo gene transfer and ex vivo gene transfer to neural cells. Probably because the brain is partially protected from the immune system, the expression of adenoviral vectors persists for several months with little inflammation. Novel therapeutic tools, such as vectors for gene therapy have to be evaluated in terms of efficacy and safety for future clinical trials. These vectors still need to be improved to allow long-term and possibly regulatable expression of the transgene.
Index EntriesGene therapy recombinant adenovirus recombinant retrovirus glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor tyrosine hydroxylase Parkinson's disease
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