Invasive Drug Delivery

  • Ulrike Blömer
  • Arnold Ganser
  • Michaela Scherr
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 513)


The central nervous system is a very attractive target for new therapeutic strategies since many genes involved in neurological diseases are known and often only local low level gene expression is required. However, as the blood brain barrier on one hand prevents some therapeutic agents given systematically from exerting their activity in the CNS, it also provides an immune privileged environment. Neurosurgical technology meanwhile allows the access of nearly every single centre of the CNS and provides the surgical tool for direct gene delivery via minimal invasive surgical approaches to the brain.

Successful therapy of the central nervous system requires new tools for delivery of therapeutics in vitro and in vivo (Figure 1). The application of therapeutic proteins via pumps into the CSF was shown to be only of limited value since the protein mostly is not sufficiently transported within the tissue and the half life of proteins limits the therapeutic success.

Direct gene delivery into the host cell has been a main strategy for years, and in the beginning the direct DNA delivery or encapsulation in liposomes or other artificial encapsulation have been applied with different success. For several years the most promising tools have been vectors based on viruses. Viruses are able to use the host cell machinery for protein synthesis, and some of them are able to stably insert into the host cell genome and provide long term transgene expression as long as the cell is alive. The increasing knowledge of viruses and their live cycle promoted the development of viral vectors that function like a shuttle to the cell, with a single round of infection either integrating or transiently expressing the transgene. Viral vectors have proven to be one of the most efficient and stable transgene shuttle into

the cell and have gained increasing importance. The limitations of some viral vectors like the adenoviral vector and adeno-associated viral vector have been improved by new constructs like HIV-1 based lentiviral vectors. The itmnune response caused by expression of viral proteins, or the inability of some viral vectors like the retroviral vector to infect only dividing cells have been overcome by these new constructs. Lentiviral vectors allow an efficient and stable transgene expression over years in vivo without effecting transgene expression or immune response. In this Chapter we will describe synthetic vectors, give an overview of the most common viral vectors and focus our attention on lentiviral vectors, since we consider them to be the most efficient tool for gene delivery in the CNS.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type Nerve Growth Factor Herpes Simplex Virus Type Viral Vector Human Immune Deficiency Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrike Blömer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Arnold Ganser
    • 1
  • Michaela Scherr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Hematology and OncologyMedical School HannoverHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of KielKielGermany

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