Local cardiovascular gene therapy
INTRODUCTION The treatment of cardiovascular disease, such as atherosclerosis, postangioplasty restenosis, postbypass atherosclerosis, peripheral atherosclerotic vascular disease and graft failures is a major challenge in everyday clinical practice (Yla-Herttuala and Martin, 2000). New treatments, such as stenting, have provided new options for clinicians, but the outcome of these treatments still remains somewhat uncertain (Califf, 1995; Oesterle et al., 1998; Yutani et al., 1999). As the incidence of cardiovascular diseases is too high in western societies, new pharmaceutical approaches for the treatment of these disorders are constantly examined. The use of traditional drugs is often accompanied by unwanted side-effects in ectopic tissues. One of the main advantages of gene therapy over traditional pharmaceutical products is the possibility that a single administration of transgene could lead to a long-lasting therapeutic effect in the target tissue without inducing ectopic gene expression. Also, there is a good possibility of controlling gene expression to the target tissues or cells by use of tissue-specific promoters.