Skip to Main Content
Treatment of human diseases with gene therapy is a technological break through that has been touted to be the "ultimate medicine". A potentially more cost-effective method of gene therapy is to use universal cell lines engineered to secrete therapeutic products that are suitable for implantation in all patients requiring the same product replacement. To avoid immune rejection, these nonautologous donor cells can be protected within immuno-isolation devices such as alginate-fabricated microcapsules. This article documents the early development and current status of nonautologous somatic gene therapy, combining biomaterial with genetic engineering to develop a new direction of research. Topics covered include: questions in gene therapy; nonautologous somatic gene therapeutics; the expression of recombinant gene products in immuno-isolation devices; the delivery of recombinant gene products with encapsulated cells in vivo; and animal models of human genetic diseases.