Gene and cell therapy for cystic fibrosis: From bench to bedside
Journal of Cystic Fibrosis , Volume 10 - Issue SUPPL. 2
Clinical trials in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients established proof-of-principle for transfer of the wild-type cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene to airway epithelial cells. However, the limited efficacy of gene transfer vectors as well as extra- and intracellular barriers have prevented the development of a gene therapy-based treatment for CF. Here, we review the use of new viral and nonviral gene therapy vectors, as well as human artificial chromosomes, to overcome barriers to successful CFTR expression. Pre-clinical studies will surely benefit from novel animal models, such as CF pigs and ferrets. Prenatal gene therapy is a potential alternative to gene transfer to fully developed lungs. However, unresolved issues, including the possibility of adverse effects on pre- and postnatal development, the risk of initiating oncogenic or degenerative processes and germ line transmission require further investigation. Finally, we discuss the therapeutic potential of stem cells for CF lung disease.