Novel treatment approach for bladder pain using a herpes simplex virus vector reported

©2013 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Severe chronic pain associated with conditions such as bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis often require the use of opioid medication, with the risk of dependency and serious adverse reactions. An alternative treatment strategy increases the levels of a naturally occurring painkiller in and around the nerves that deliver pain signals to the bladder. This new therapeutic approach is described in an article in Human Gene Therapy, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Hitoshi Yokoyama, MD and colleagues from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (PA), Shinshu University School of Medicine (Matsumoto, Japan), and Diamyd (Pittsburgh, PA) describe a in which they inject directly into the bladder wall the gene for enkephalin, an opioid compound produced by the human body. The gene is transported into the via a vector that is incapable of replication.

In the article "Effects of Herpes Simplex -Mediated Enkephalin Gene Therapy on Bladder Overactivity and Nociception," the authors demonstrate high levels of enkephalin gene expression in the treated rats and significantly lower measures of pain compared to untreated animals when exposed to stimuli intended to induce bladder irritation. The researchers note that a similar gene therapy delivery vector carrying an enkephalin gene has been used in clinical studies in human patients to treat cancer-related pain, and was shown to be well tolerated and safe and to provide substantial pain relief.

"This is a very innovative application of Herpes Simplex Virus gene therapy in the treatment of a common and painful clinical problem that otherwise requires chronic use of narcotics," says James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, and Director of the Gene Therapy Program, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

More information: The article is available free on the Human Gene Therapy website at http://www.liebertpub.com/hum.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gene therapy for chronic pain gets first test in people

Sep 15, 2008

This week, University of Michigan scientists will begin a phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of cancer-related pain, using a novel gene transfer vector injected into the skin to deliver a pain-relieving ...

First clinical trial of gene therapy for pain reported

Apr 11, 2011

In the first clinical trial of gene therapy for treatment of intractable pain, researchers from the University of Michigan Department of Neurology observed that the treatment appears to provide substantial pain relief.

Researchers find relief for chronic pain

Jan 22, 2008

Researchers in the Department of Medicine and Department of Neurosciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have discovered that chronic pain can be successfully treated with novel targeted gene therapy. In an effort to find ...

Targeted gene therapy enhances treatment for Pompe disease

Jun 25, 2012

Gene therapy to replace the protein missing in Pompe disease can be effective if the patient's immune system does not react against the therapy. Targeted delivery of the gene to the liver, instead of throughout the body,suppresses ...

Recommended for you

Scientists discover an on/off switch for aging cells

Sep 20, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered an on-and-off "switch" in cells that may hold the key to healthy aging. This switch points to a way to encourage healthy cells to keep dividing ...

Gene variant that dramatically reduces 'bad' lipids

Sep 16, 2014

In the first study to emerge from the UK10K Project's cohort of samples from the general public, scientists have identified a rare genetic variant that dramatically reduces levels of certain types of lipids in the blood. ...

New diagnostic method identifies genetic diseases

Sep 16, 2014

People with genetic diseases often have to embark on an odyssey from one doctor to the next. Fewer than half of all patients who are suspected of having a genetic disease actually receive a satisfactory diagnosis. Scientists ...

User comments