Gene Therapy for Intervertebral Disc Degeneration: An Overview of Current Strategies and Applications

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Melissa Yunting Tang Gwendolyn Sowa Joon Y Lee Nam Vo James Kang


Intervertebral disc degeneration is a pervasive condition contributing to chronic back pain, affecting up to a third of the population, with risk further increasing with age. It is a significant driver of disability for millions of Americans and others worldwide. The standard of care today is reliant on symptomatic treatment rather than addressing the root cause of disease. Surgical interventions alter the structural integrity and biomechanics of the spine, often leading to loss of function and motion, and post-operative complications. This is the basis for innovation in novel biologic treatments, including gene therapy, which aims to reestablish the optimal balance between matrix catabolism and anabolism within pathologically degenerating disc cells. This review will cover the significant advances that have led to identification of target therapeutic genes combined with regulated expression of the therapeutic transgene and successful systems for gene delivery into cells. Recent advances in viral and non-viral vectors for gene transfer, silencing of genes by RNA interference, editing of genes by clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, and modifying mammalian target of rapamycin signaling pathwayS offer promising treatment avenues. Clinical translation of these approaches, however, will require further investigation of the pathological basis of disc degeneration in addition to systematic safety measures for the adoption of gene therapy.

Keywords: Gene Therapy, Gene Therapy for Intervertebral Disc Degeneration, Intervertebral Disc Degeneration

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TANG, Melissa Yunting et al. Gene Therapy for Intervertebral Disc Degeneration: An Overview of Current Strategies and Applications. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 3, mar. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 apr. 2024. doi:
Research Articles


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