Gene therapy for allergic airway diseases

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2011 Apr;11(2):163-72. doi: 10.1007/s11882-011-0177-8.


Airway diseases such as allergic asthma and rhinitis are characterized by a T-helper type 2 (Th2) response. Treatment of allergic airway diseases is currently limited to drugs that relieve disease symptoms and inflammation. In the search for new therapeutics, efforts have been made to treat allergic airway disease with gene therapy, and many preclinical studies have demonstrated its impressive potential. Most strategies focus on blocking the expression of proinflammatory proteins or transcription factors involved in the disease pathogenesis using antisense oligonucleotides, DNAzymes, small interfering RNA, or blocking of microRNAs using antagomirs. Changing the Th1/Th2 balance by overexpressing Th1-stimulating factors is another treatment option. Although the proof of concept is convincing in animal models, progress in humans remains limited. In this review, we focus on preclinical models to describe the recent developments and major breakthroughs for treating allergic airway diseases with gene therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / genetics
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology