Hydrogels for lentiviral Gene Delivery

Document Type



Introduction: Gene delivery from hydrogel biomaterials provides a fundamental tool for a variety of clinical applications including regenerative medicine, gene therapy for inherited disorders and drug delivery. The high water content and mild gelation conditions of hydrogels support their use for gene delivery by preserving activity of lentiviral vectors and acting to shield vectors from any host immune response.

Areas covered: Strategies to control lentiviral entrapment within and retention/release from hydrogels are reviewed. The authors discuss the ability of hydrogel design parameters to control the transgene expression profile and the capacity of hydrogels to protect vectors from (and even modulate) the host immune response.

Expert opinion: Delivery of genetic vectors from scaffolds provides a unique opportunity to capitalize on the potential synergy between the biomaterial design for cell processes and gene delivery. Hydrogel properties can be tuned to directly control the events that determine the tissue response to controlled gene delivery, which include the extent of cell infiltration, preservation of vector activity and vector retention. While some design parameters have been identified, numerous opportunities for investigation are available in order to develop a complete model relating the biomaterial properties and host response to gene delivery.