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Herpes simplex virus-based nerve targeting gene therapy in pain management

Authors Goss J, Krisky D, Wechuck J, Wolfe D

Received 21 August 2013

Accepted for publication 22 October 2013

Published 20 January 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 71—79


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James R Goss, David Krisky, James Wechuck, Darren Wolfe

PeriphaGen Inc, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Abstract: Chronic pain represents a major medical burden not only in terms of suffering but also in terms of economic costs. Traditional medical approaches have so far proven insufficient in treating chronic pain and new approaches are necessary. Gene therapy with herpes simplex virus (HSV)-based vectors offers the ability to directly target specific regions of the neuraxis involved in pain transmission including the primary afferent nociceptor. This opens up new targets to interact with that are either not available to traditional systemic drugs or cannot be adequately acted upon without substantial adverse off-target effects. Having access to the entire neuron, which HSV-based vector gene therapy enables, expands treatment options beyond merely treating symptoms and allows for altering the basic biology of the nerve. In this paper, we discuss several HSV-based gene therapy vectors that our group and others have used to target specific neuronal functions involved in the processing of nociception in order to develop new therapies for the treatment of chronic pain.

Keywords: pain, gene therapy, herpes simplex virus, opioids, voltage-gated sodium channels, inhibitory neurotransmitters

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