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This article has been peer reviewed and is published in BMC Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics Volume 1, Issue 4, 1999, Pages 487-492. The published version is available at . Copyright © BioMed Central Ltd.


The neurogenetic prototypic disease on which we chose to test our gene therapy strategy is Canavan disease (CD). CD is an autosomal recessive leukodystrophy associated with spongiform degeneration of the brain. At present the disease is uniformly fatal in affected probands. CD is characterized by mutations in the aspartoacylase (ASPA) gene, resulting in loss of enzyme activity. In this review, recent evidence is summarized on the etiology and possible treatments for CD. In particular, we discuss two gene delivery systems representing recent advances in both viral and liposome technology: a novel cationic liposome-polymer-DNA (LPD) complex, DCChol/DOPE-protamine, as well as recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors.

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