Non-Viral Vector-Mediated Gene Therapy for ALS: Challenges and Future Perspectives
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease, for which no effective treatment is yet available to either slow or terminate it. Recent advances in gene therapy renew hope for developing an effective approach to control this disease. Non-viral vectors, such as lipid- and polymer-based nanoparticles, cationic polymers, and exosomes, can effectively transfer genes into primary neurons. The resulting gene expression can be long-term, stable, and without immunological complications, which is essential for the effective management of neurological disorders. This Review will first describe the current research and clinical stage of novel therapies for ALS. It will then touch on the journey of non-viral vector use in ALS, subsequently highlighting the application of non-viral vector-mediated gene therapy. The bottlenecks in the translation of non-viral vectors for ALS treatment are also discussed, including the biological barriers of systemic administration and the issues of "when, where, and how much?"for effective gene delivery. The prospect of employing emerging techniques, such as CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, stem cell methodology, and low-intensity focused ultrasound for fueling the transport of non-viral vectors to the central nervous system for personalized gene therapy, is briefly discussed in the context of ALS. Despite the challenging road that lies ahead, with the current expansion in interest and technological advancement in non-viral vector-delivered gene therapy for ALS, we hold hope that the field is headed toward a positive future.
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Motor Neurone Disease Research Australia