Successful gene therapy requires not only the identification of an appropriate therapeutic gene for treatment of the disease, but also a delivery system by which that gene can be delivered to the desired cell type both efficiently and accurately. Reductions in accuracy will inevitably also reduce efficiency since fewer particles will be available for delivery to the correct cells if many are sequestered into nontarget cells. In addition, the therapy will have net benefit to the patient only if gene delivery is sufficiently restricted such that normal calls are left unaffected by any detrimental affects of bystander cell transduction. Here we review how currently available delivery systems, both plasmid and viral, can be manipulated to improve their targeting to specific cell types. Currently, targeting is achieved by engineering of the surface components of viruses and liposomes to achieve discrimination at the level of target cell recognition and/or by incorporating transcriptional elements into plasmid or vital genomes such that the therapeutic gene is expressed only in certain target cell types. In addition, we discuss emerging vectors and suggest how gene therapy delivery systems of the future will be composites of the best features of diverse vectors already in use.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology