As gene therapy begins to produce its first clinical successes, interest in ocular gene transfer has grown owing to the favorable safety and efficacy characteristics of the eye as a target organ for drug delivery. Important advances also include the availability of viral and non-viral vectors that are able to efficiently transduce various ocular cell types, the use of intraocular delivery routes and the development of transcriptional regulatory elements that allow sustained levels of gene transfer in small and large animal models after a single administration. Here, we review recent progress in the field of ocular gene therapy. The first experiments in humans with severe inherited forms of blindness seem to confirm the good safety and efficacy profiles observed in animal models and suggest that gene transfer has the potential to become a valuable therapeutic strategy for otherwise untreatable blinding diseases. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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