- June 2008
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- Using a recently described skin-humanized model based on the engraftment of human bioengineered skin equivalents onto immunodeficient mice, we compared the efficacy of different in vivo gene transfer strategies aimed at delivering growth factors to promote skin wound healing. The approaches involving transient delivery of keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) to wounds performed in the engrafted human skin included (1) KGF gene transfer by intradermal adenoviral injection; (2) KGF gene transfer by adenoviral vector immobilized in a fibrin carrier; and (3) KGF-adenoviral gene-transferred human fibroblasts embedded in a fibrin matrix. All delivery systems achieved KGF protein overproduction at the wound site, with a concomitant re-epithelialization enhancement. However, although direct gene delivery strategies exhibited variability in terms of the number of successfully transduced humanized mice, the use of genetically modified fibroblast-containing matrix as an in situ protein bioreactor was highly reproducible, leading to a significant improvement of the overall healing process. This latter approach appeared to be the most reliable means to deliver growth factors to wounds and also avoided the potential danger of scoring cases of faulty administration as therapeutic failures and direct exposure to viral vectors. The combined use of cell and gene therapy appears a robust tool to aid healing in a clinical context.