Gene therapy for pancreatitis pain. Academic Article Review uri icon


  • Pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis are clinical syndromes associated with severe pain that is difficult to manage. Thus, seeking additional pain reduction therapies is warranted. Excessive alcohol consumption over an extended period of time is the primary causal agent in pancreatitis. The efficacy of a replication defective Herpes (HSV-1, DPE) viral vector construct encoding the human preproenkephalin gene (HSV-Enk), used as a molecular therapy for alleviation of pancreatitis pain, is reviewed here. The characteristics of the gene therapy treatment for inflammation and pain-related behavior in two alcoholic pancreatitis animal models is described. Significant analgesia and protection of pancreatic tissue was provided for the duration of the transgene expression (approximately 4-6 weeks). These studies establish a basis for use of HSV-based gene therapy for chronic visceral pain. Targeted enkephalin gene therapy approaches are providing clear promise for pain control. As innovative means of significantly reducing pancreatic inflammation and preserving tissue architecture, they may extend their clinical usefulness for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer pain patients.

publication date

  • April 2009