A Method of Delivering Genes to the Central Nervous System
One of the limitations of gene therapy has been the lack of methods to effectively deliver genes to the central nervous system. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a neurotropic virus that naturally establishes latent infections in the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system of humans. Wistar researchers have developed a novel method for using neurotropic HSV to deliver genes of therapeutic value. Additionally, the Wistar technology promotes long-term expression of the therapeutic genes, which is necessary for treatment of a genetic defect.
The Wistar technology has several advantages over other methods of delivering genes to the central nervous system (CNS). First, no helper virus is needed, and second, long-term expression of the gene is achieved using a naturally-occurring viral promoter. This technology has been used successfully in vivo in a mouse model. In this study, the gene encoding §-glucorinodase was delivered to the CNS and long-term expression (over 4 months) of the gene product was obtained.