|Lauro A Oliveira, Mark I Rosenblatt
Pan Am J Ophthalmol 2006, 5:2 (1 April 2006)
Technological advances in the field of molecular biology and especially re-combinant DNA techniques have enabled scientists to develop gene therapy techniques for the treatment of human diseases. The potential therapeutic applications of gene transfer technology are enormous. The cornea is an excellent candidate for gene therapy because of its accessibility and immune-privileged nature.
Studies examining the feasibility and optimal methods for vector-mediated gene transfer to the cornea have been performed using histochemical and fluorescent marker genes. These studies have utilized various viral vectors, such as adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, retrovirus, lentivirus, and herpes simplex virus, as well as non-viral methods to transfer heterologous genes into corneal cells in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo.
In this review, we will discuss viral and non-viral approaches of gene delivery into the cornea as well as the limitations of these approaches. Additionally, we will discuss some potential applications for gene-based interventions which have been analyzed in specific corneal disorders such as allograft rejection, corneal wound healing, and corneal dystrophies using experimental models.