Hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy: Dead or alive?

Cole Ferguson, Andre Larochelle, Cynthia E. Dunbar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Despite some reports of toxicity in recent clinical trials, many scientists believe that the use of gene therapy in the treatment of congenital genetic defects and acquired disorders has too much potential to abandon. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) have been primary targets for gene therapy owing to their capacity for differentiation and self-renewal, whereby multiple cell lineages can potentially be corrected for the lifetime of an individual. These efforts represent a long-term investment towards broadening physicians' treatment options for patients whose diseases, in particular certain immunodeficiencies, are fatal and where no other therapy is available. We review the recent progress and clinical triumphs as well as the reported toxicity related to insertional mutagenesis. We also discuss the current risk-to-benefit estimates and future strategies to reduce the risks and allow full realization of clinical potential. Scientists are continually revising protocols: going both from 'bench to bedside' and, as strikingly demonstrated by HSC gene therapy, from 'bedside to bench.'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-597
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


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