Gene therapy in retinal dystrophies

Lucia Ziccardi, Viviana Cordeddu, Lucia Gaddini, Andrea Matteucci, Mariacristina Parravano, Fiorella Malchiodi-Albedi, Monica Varano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Inherited retinal dystrophies (IRDs) are a group of clinically and genetically heterogeneous degenerative disorders. To date, mutations have been associated with IRDs in over 270 disease genes, but molecular diagnosis still remains elusive in about a third of cases. The methodologic developments in genome sequencing techniques that we have witnessed in this last decade have represented a turning point not only in diagnosis and prognosis but, above all, in the identification of new therapeutic perspectives. The discovery of new disease genes and pathogenetic mechanisms underlying IRDs has laid the groundwork for gene therapy approaches. Several clinical trials are ongoing, and the recent approval of Luxturna, the first gene therapy product for Leber congenital amaurosis, marks the beginning of a new era. Due to its anatomical and functional characteristics, the retina is the organ of choice for gene therapy, although there are quite a few difficulties in the translational approaches from preclinical models to humans. In the first part of this review, an overview of the current knowledge on methodological issues and future perspectives of gene therapy applied to IRDs is discussed; in the second part, the state of the art of clinical trials on the gene therapy approach in IRDs is illustrated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5722
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2 2019


  • Animal models for retinal dystrophy
  • Editing
  • Hereditary retinal disease
  • Human iPSC-derived retina and retinal pigment epithelium
  • Optogenetics and splice modulation therapy
  • Pre-and clinical gene therapy
  • Retinal gene augmentation
  • Retinal imaging
  • Retinal pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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