Genetic modification, or gene transfer, represents a method of treatment for several diseases. It has been used extensively in the context of cardiovascular diseases; however, its role in the context of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, has remained largely unexplored. In this chapter, we will review the use of adult stem cells, focusing on endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), in the context of diabetes. We have highlighted the use of viral vectors, particularly DNA viruses, as a tool for genetic modification to help stem cells survive and resist apoptosis in a hyperglycemic environment. We then discuss genetic modification of EPCs and MSCs to treat complications of diabetes and obesity. Although there are several unanswered questions in the field of metabolic diseases, the future application of gene transfer technology along with genetic modification of stem cells prior to the therapy holds significant therapeutic promise.
Part of the book: Genetic Engineering