Exp Eye Res.2021 Jan;202:108361.doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2020.108361. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Novel insights into gene therapy in the cornea

Rajiv R Mohan  1 Lynn M Martin  2 Nishant R Sinha  2 Affiliations


Corneal disease remains a leading cause of impaired vision world-wide, and advancements in gene therapy continue to develop with promising success to prevent, treat and cure blindness. Ideally, gene therapy requires a vector and gene delivery method that targets treatment of specific cells or tissues and results in a safe and non-immunogenic response. The cornea is a model tissue for gene therapy due to its ease of clinician access and immune-privileged state. Improvements in the past 5-10 years have begun to revolutionize the approach to gene therapy in the cornea with a focus on adeno-associated virus and nanoparticle delivery of single and combination gene therapies. In addition, the potential applications of gene editing (zinc finger nucleases [ZNFs], transcription activator-like effector nucleases [TALENs], Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/Associated Systems [CRISPR/Cas9]) are rapidly expanding. This review focuses on recent developments in gene therapy for corneal diseases, including promising multiple gene therapy, while outlining a practical approach to the development of such therapies and potential impediments to successful delivery of genes to the cornea.

Keywords: Combination gene therapy; Cornea; Fibrosis; Gene editing; Keratocyte; Neovascularization; Non-viral vector; Viral vector.