Dysfunction of peripheral nerves due to metabolic, toxic, infectious, or genetic causes is a common and debilitating
syndrome resulting in sensory loss. Peripheral neuropathies are one of the most widespread neurological disorders,
affecting nearly 20 million people in the United States alone. Pharmacologic treatment for peripheral neuropathies is one
of the most challenging fields in the clinical research. Sensory neurons are widely distributed and relatively inaccessible to
direct drug delivery. Targeted delivery of neurotrophic factors to the primary sensory afferent for treatment of polyneuropathy
by gene transfer approach offers the possibility of a highly selective targeted release of bioactive molecules within
the nervous system. Preclinical studies with non-replicating herpes simplex virus (HSV)-based vectors injected into the
skin to transduce neurons in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) have demonstrated efficacy in preventing progression of sensory
neuropathy without any possible systemic side effects.
Keywords: Diabetes, DRG, gene therapy, growth factors, HSV, peripheral neuropathy.
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