Strategies to modulate immune responses: a new frontier for gene therapy

Mol Ther. 2009 Sep;17(9):1492-503. doi: 10.1038/mt.2009.150. Epub 2009 Jul 7.


The success of gene therapy strategies to cure disease relies on the control of unwanted immune responses to transgene products, genetically modified cells and/or to the vector. Effective treatment of an established immune response is much harder to achieve than prevention of a response before it has had a chance to develop. However, preventive strategies are not always effective in avoiding immune responses, thus the use of drugs to induce immunosuppression (IS) is required. The growing discovery of novel drugs provides a conceptual shift from using generalized, moderately intensive immunosuppressive regimens towards a refined approach to attain the optimal balance of naive cells, effector cells, memory cells, and regulatory cells, harnessing the natural tolerance mechanisms of the body. We review several strategies based on transient IS coupled with gene therapy for sustained immune tolerance induction to the therapeutic transgene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Genetic Vectors / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression / methods*
  • Models, Biological
  • Transgenes / genetics
  • Transgenes / immunology