Adeno-Associated Viral Gene Therapy for Inherited Retinal Disease

Tuyen Ong, Mark E. Pennesi, David G. Birch, Byron L. Lam, Stephen H. Tsang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) are a group of rare, heterogenous eye disorders caused by gene mutations that result in degeneration of the retina. There are currently limited treatment options for IRDs; however, retinal gene therapy holds great promise for the treatment of different forms of inherited blindness. One such IRD for which gene therapy has shown positive initial results is choroideremia, a rare, X-linked degenerative disorder of the retina and choroid. Mutation of the CHM gene leads to an absence of functional Rab escort protein 1 (REP1), which causes retinal pigment epithelium cell death and photoreceptor degeneration. The condition presents in childhood as night blindness, followed by progressive constriction of visual fields, generally leading to vision loss in early adulthood and total blindness thereafter. A recently developed adeno-associated virus-2 (AAV2) vector construct encoding REP1 (AAV2-REP1) has been shown to deliver a functional version of the CHM gene into the retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptor cells. Phase 1 and 2 studies of AAV2-REP1 in patients with choroideremia have produced encouraging results, suggesting that it is possible not only to slow or stop the decline in vision following treatment with AAV2-REP1, but also to improve visual acuity in some patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number34
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • AAV2-REP1
  • choroideremia
  • gene therapy
  • retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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