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Ex Vivo Gene Therapy for the Treatment of Neurological Disorders


Ex Vivo Gene Therapy for the Treatment of Neurological Disorders

Genevieve Gowing et al. Prog Brain Res.


Ex vivo gene therapy involves the genetic modification of cells outside of the body to produce therapeutic factors and their subsequent transplantation back into patients. Various cell types can be genetically engineered. However, with the explosion in stem cell technologies, neural stem/progenitor cells and mesenchymal stem cells are most often used. The synergy between the effect of the new cell and the additional engineered properties can often provide significant benefits to neurodegenerative changes in the brain. In this review, we cover both preclinical animal studies and clinical human trials that have used ex vivo gene therapy to treat neurological disorders with a focus on Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, ALS, and stroke. We highlight some of the major advances in this field including new autologous sources of pluripotent stem cells, safer ways to introduce therapeutic transgenes, and various methods of gene regulation. We also address some of the remaining hurdles including tunable gene regulation, in vivo cell tracking, and rigorous experimental design. Overall, given the current outcomes from researchers and clinical trials, along with exciting new developments in ex vivo gene and cell therapy, we anticipate that successful treatments for neurological diseases will arise in the near future.

Keywords: Ex vivo; Gene therapy; Growth factor; Mesenchymal; Neural; Neurological disease; Protection; Stem cell.

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