Encapsulation for Somatic Gene Therapy
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With the human genome project approaching its completion date of 2005, gene-based technology will play an increasingly important role in health-care delivery. Non-autologous somatic gene therapy is a novel application in which non-autologous cell lines engineered to secrete a recombinant protein are enclosed within immunoisolation devices and implanted into all patients requiring the same product for therapy. The development of this technology requires a multi-disciplinary effort towards optimization of the biomaterial used to manufacture the implantable devices and selection of the appropriate cell lines for enclosure. The efficacy of this technology is illustrated in the treatment of dwarfism and lysosomal storage disease in murine models. The potential of a safe and cost-effective gene-based delivery method should have wide applications in treating both classical genetic disorders and non-Mendelian diseases.
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