Most of the current hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) -directed gene therapy applications have focused on the replacement of defective or deficient genes in an autologous setting. More recently HSC gene therapy applications have also included the enhancement or improvement of HSC features. Allogeneic HSCs have been used to facilitate and improve allogeneic transplantation and to achieve tolerance to transplanted cells, tissues or organs. Different gene transfer approaches addressing a variety of immunomodulatory mediators contributing to graft tolerance or immunological ignorance may have a critical role in improving long-term graft survival. Allogeneic tissues are frequently recognized by allospecific T cells as foreign and are rapidly rejected in the absence of immunosuppression. The higher susceptibility to cancer and infectious diseases of immunosuppressed patients led to investigation of new therapies to induce graft-specific tolerance. Peripheral tolerance to allogeneic grafts can be achieved by a variety of mechanisms including clonal deletion, suppression caused by regulatory T cells and anergy induction associated with microchimerism effect. In the last decades, potential candidates to confer allograft protection were identified. In this review, we summarize ongoing strategies and developments in genetic manipulation of cells, tissues and organs for allogeneic transplantation including modulating the effector arm of the immune response.
Keywords: Stem cells, gene therapy, allogeneic transplantation
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