Endobronchial gene therapy

Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2004 Aug;25(4):433-42. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-832716.


Gene therapy for pulmonary disease, a field still in the experimental stage, has nonetheless progressed considerably in the past decade. There have been significant advances in pre-clinical studies, as well as important developments resulting from multiple early-phase human clinical trials for a variety of respiratory disorders. Although there are several ways of delivering therapeutic genes to the lungs, the primary delivery modality remains flexible bronchoscopy. The flexible bronchoscope, because of its unique access to both large and small airways, serves as an ideal instrument to deliver therapeutic genes to the tracheobronchial tree, even to small airways and alveoli that are beyond the reach of the bronchoscope. In addition, bronchoscopic gene delivery has the capacity to treat pulmonary vascular disorders because delivery of marker and therapeutic genes via the airways has been demonstrated to successfully transduce the pulmonary vascular endothelium. This article describes the various methods and disease targets of bronchoscopically mediated gene therapy, focusing in particular on the results of clinical studies and providing a glimpse into the future of the field.