Hemophilia treatment is entering a new phase, with the exciting possibility of gene therapy promising a cure. Novel gene transfer strategies are being considered for patients with inhibitors.Improvement of factor-replacement therapy is being aggressively pursued with long-acting factor concentrates, many of which are in clinical trials. Whether gene therapy will be safe and cost effective to eventually supersede factor-replacement therapy is yet to be determined. It is hoped that with the profusion of clinical trial programs in hemophilia care, it will eventually provide affordable treatment to many patients who currently cannot access adequate treatment in the developing countries.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individuals with hemophilia A require frequent infusion of preparations of coagulation factor VIII. The activity of factor VIII (FVIII) as a cofactor for factor IXa in the coagulation cascade is limited by its instability after activation by thrombin. Activation of FVIII occurs through proteolytic cleavage and generates an unstable FVIII heterotrimer that is subject to rapid dissociation of its subunits. In addition, further proteolytic cleavage by thrombin, factor Xa, factor IXa, and activated protein C can lead to inactivation. We have engineered and characterized a FVIII protein, IR8, that has enhanced in vitro stability of FVIII activity due to resistance to subunit dissociation and proteolytic inactivation. FVIII was genetically engineered by deletion of residues 794-1689 so that the A2 domain is covalently attached to the light chain. Missense mutations at thrombin and activated protein C inactivation cleavage sites provided resistance to proteolysis, resulting in a single-chain protein that has maximal activity after a single cleavage after arginine-372. The specific activity of partially purified protein produced in transfected COS-1 monkey cells was 5-fold higher than wild-type (WT) FVIII. Whereas WT FVIII was inactivated by thrombin after 10 min in vitro, IR8 still retained 38% of peak activity after 4 hr. Whereas binding of IR8 to von Willebrand factor (vWF) was reduced 10-fold compared with WT FVIII, in the presence of an anti-light chain antibody, ESH8, binding of IR8 to vWF increased 5-fold. These results demonstrate that residues 1690-2332 of FVIII are sufficient to support high-affinity vWF binding. Whereas ESH8 inhibited WT factor VIII activity, IR8 retained its activity in the presence of ESH8. We propose that resistance to A2 subunit dissociation abrogates inhibition by the ESH8 antibody. The stable FVIIIa described here provides the opportunity to study the activated form of this critical coagulation factor and demonstrates that proteins can be improved by rationale design through genetic engineering technology.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/1997; 94(22):11851-6. DOI:10.1073/pnas.94.22.11851 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene therapy using recombinant adeno-associated virus vectors (rAAV) is generally considered safe. During the course of a study designed to determine the long-term efficacy of rAAV-mediated gene therapy initiated in newborn mice with the lysosomal storage disease, mucopolysaccharidosis type VII (MPSVII), a significant incidence of hepatocellular carcinomas and angiosarcomas was discovered. A hepatocellular carcinoma was first detected in a 35-week-old mouse and by 72 weeks of age, three out of five rAAV-treated MPSVII mice had similar lesions. These types of tumors had not been seen previously in long-term studies of MPSVII mice using recombinant enzyme or bone marrow transplantation. In an attempt to ascertain whether mouse strain or GUSB expression confers susceptibility to tumor formation, we histopathologically examined untreated normal mice of the same strain, untreated MPSVII mice, and normal mice overexpressing human GUSB for the presence of tumors and increased hepatocyte replication. The results of these studies do not indicate that MPSVII mice or mice overexpressing human GUSB are susceptible to tumor formation; however, the number of animals examined is too small to draw definitive conclusions. Results from quantitative PCR performed on the tumor samples suggest that the tumors are probably not caused by an insertional mutagenesis event followed by the clonal expansion of a transformed cell. In a separate study, a relatively large group of mice injected with varying doses and types of rAAV vectors had no evidence of hepatic or vascular tumors. Although the mechanism of tumor formation is currently unknown, the tumorigenic potential of rAAV vectors must be rigorously determined in long-term in vivo studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We tested the safety of a nonviral somatic-cell gene-therapy system in patients with severe hemophilia A.
An open-label, phase 1 trial was conducted in six patients with severe hemophilia A. Dermal fibroblasts obtained from each patient by skin biopsy were grown in culture and transfected with a plasmid containing sequences of the gene that encodes factor VIII. Cells that produced factor VIII were selected, cloned, and propagated in vitro. The cloned cells were then harvested and administered to the patients by laparoscopic injection into the omentum. The patients were followed for 12 months after the implantation of the genetically altered cells. An interim analysis was performed.
There were no serious adverse events related to the use of factor VIII-producing fibroblasts or the implantation procedure. No long-term complications developed, and no inhibitors of factor VIII were detected. In four of the six patients, plasma levels of factor VIII activity rose above the levels observed before the procedure. The increase in factor VIII activity coincided with a decrease in bleeding, a reduction in the use of exogenous factor VIII, or both. In the patient with the highest level of factor VIII activity, the clinical changes lasted approximately 10 months.
Implantation of genetically altered fibroblasts that produce factor VIII is safe and well tolerated. This form of gene therapy is feasible in patients with severe hemophilia A.
New England Journal of Medicine 07/2001; 344(23):1735-42. DOI:10.1056/NEJM200106073442301 · 55.87 Impact Factor
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