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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2012, Article ID 594869, 14 pages
Review Article

Targeting Herpetic Keratitis by Gene Therapy

1The Veneto Eye Bank Foundation, Via Paccagnella 11, Padiglione Giovanni Rama, Zelarino, 30174 Venice, Italy
2Cellectis Therapeutics SAS, 8 rue de la Croix Jarry, 75013 Paris, France

Received 31 May 2012; Accepted 30 November 2012

Academic Editor: Pierre Lachapelle

Copyright © 2012 Hossein Mostafa Elbadawy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ocular gene therapy is rapidly becoming a reality. By November 2012, approximately 28 clinical trials were approved to assess novel gene therapy agents. Viral infections such as herpetic keratitis caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) can cause serious complications that may lead to blindness. Recurrence of the disease is likely and cornea transplantation, therefore, might not be the ideal therapeutic solution. This paper will focus on the current situation of ocular gene therapy research against herpetic keratitis, including the use of viral and nonviral vectors, routes of delivery of therapeutic genes, new techniques, and key research strategies. Whereas the correction of inherited diseases was the initial goal of the field of gene therapy, here we discuss transgene expression, gene replacement, silencing, or clipping. Gene therapy of herpetic keratitis previously reported in the literature is screened emphasizing candidate gene therapy targets. Commonly adopted strategies are discussed to assess the relative advantages of the protective therapy using antiviral drugs and the common gene therapy against long-term HSV-1 ocular infections signs, inflammation and neovascularization. Successful gene therapy can provide innovative physiological and pharmaceutical solutions against herpetic keratitis.