Philip Kusk

NsGene A/S, Ballerup, Capital Region, Denmark

Are you Philip Kusk?

Claim your profile

Publications (12)36.2 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Encapsulated cell biodelivery (ECB) is a relatively safe approach, since the devices can be removed in the event of adverse effects. The main objectives of the present study were to evaluate whether ECB could be a viable alternative of cell therapy for epilepsy. We therefore developed a human cell line producing galanin, a neuropeptide that has been shown to exert inhibitory effects on seizures, most likely acting via decreasing glutamate release from excitatory synapses. To explore whether ECB of genetically modified galanin-producing human cell line could provide seizure-suppressant effects, and test possible translational prospect for clinical application, we implanted ECB devices bilaterally into the hippocampus of rats subjected to rapid kindling, a model for recurrent temporal lobe seizures. Two clones from a genetically modified human cell line secreting different levels of galanin were tested. Electroencephalography (EEG) recordings and stimulations were performed by electrodes implanted into the hippocampus at the same surgical session as ECB devices. One week after the surgery, rapid kindling stimulations were initiated. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) measurements prior to device implantation showed a release of galanin on average of 8.3 ng/mL/24 h per device for the low-releasing clone and 12.6 ng/mL/24 h per device for the high-releasing clone. High-releasing galanin-producing ECB devices moderately decreased stimulation-induced focal afterdischarge duration, whereas low-releasing ECB devices had no significant effect. Our study shows that galanin-releasing ECB devices moderately suppress focal stimulation-induced recurrent seizures. Despite this moderate effect, the study provides conceptual proof that ECB could be a viable alternative approach to cell therapy in humans, with the advantage that the treatment could be terminated by removing these devices from the brain. Thereby, this strategy provides a higher level of safety for future therapeutic applications, in which genetically modified human cell lines that are optimized to produce and release antiepileptic compounds could be clinically evaluated for their seizure-suppressant effects.
    Epilepsia 11/2013; · 3.96 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The authors describe the first clinical trial with encapsulated cell biodelivery (ECB) implants that deliver nerve growth factor (NGF) to the cholinergic basal forebrain with the intention of halting the degeneration of cholinergic neurons and the associated cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer disease (AD). The NsG0202 implant (NsGene A/S) consists of an NGF-producing, genetically engineered human cell line encapsulated behind a semipermeable hollow fiber membrane that allows the influx of nutrients and the efflux of NGF. The centimeter-long capsule is attached to an inert polymer tether that is used to guide the capsule to the target via stereotactic techniques and is anchored to the skull at the bur hole. Six patients with mild to moderate AD were included in this Phase Ib open-label safety study and were divided into 2 dose cohorts. The first cohort of 3 patients received single implants targeting the basal nucleus of Meynert (Ch4 region) bilaterally (2 implants per patient), and after a safety evaluation, a second cohort of 3 patients received bilateral implants (a total of 4 implants per patient) targeting both the Ch4 region and the vertical limb of the diagonal band of Broca (Ch2 region). Stereotactic implantation of the devices was successfully accomplished in all patients. Despite extensive brain atrophy, all targets could be reached without traversing sulci, the insula, or lateral ventricles. Postoperative CT scans allowed visualization of the barium-impregnated tethers, and fusion of the scans with stereotactic MR images scan was used to verify the intended positions of the implants. Follow-up MRI at 3 and 12 months postimplantation showed no evidence of inflammation or device displacement. At 12 months, implants were successfully retrieved, and low but persistent NGF secretion was detected in half of the patients. With refinement, the ECB technology is positioned to become an important therapeutic platform in restorative neurosurgery and, in combination with other therapeutic factors, may be relevant for the treatment of a variety of neurological disorders. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01163825.
    Journal of Neurosurgery 06/2012; 117(2):340-7. · 3.15 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present invention relates to the field of therapeutic use of proteins, genes and cells. More specifically the invention relates to therapy based on the biological function of a secreted therapeutic protein, NsG33, in particular for the treatment of disorders of the nervous system. NsG33 is a nerve survival and growth factor with antiapoptotic effects on a cell line with neuronal potential and with neuroprotective and/or neurogenesis effects on a neural precursor cell line and on primary striatal cultures. The invention also relates to ...
    Ref. No: 13327423, Year: 12/2011
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a potential therapeutic agent for Alzheimer's disease (AD) as it has positive effects on the basal forebrain cholinergic neurons whose degeneration correlates with the cognitive decline in AD. We have previously described an encapsulated cell biodelivery device, NsG0202, capable of local delivery of NGF by a genetically modified human cell line, NGC-0295. The NsG0202 devices have shown promising safety and therapeutic results in a small phase 1b clinical study. However, results also show that the NGF dose could advantageously be increased. We have used the sleeping beauty transposon expression technology to establish a new clinical grade cell line, NGC0211, with at least 10 times higher NGF production than that of NGC-0295. To test whether encapsulation of this cell line provides a relevant dose escalation step in delivering NGF for treatment of the cognitive decline in AD patients, we have validated the bioactivity of devices with NGC0211 and NGC-0295 cells in normal rat striatum as well as in the quinolinic acid striatal lesion model. These preclinical animal studies show that implantation of devices with NGC0211 cells lead to significantly higher NGF output, which in both cases correlate with highly improved potency.
    Gene therapy 11/2011; 19(10):1010-7. · 4.75 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Nerve growth factor (NGF) prevents cholinergic degeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and improves memory in AD animal models. In humans, the safe delivery of therapeutic doses of NGF is challenging. For clinical use, we have therefore developed an encapsulated cell (EC) biodelivery device, capable of local delivery of NGF. The clinical device, named NsG0202, houses an NGF-secreting cell line (NGC-0295), which is derived from a human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell line, stably genetically modified to secrete NGF. Bioactivity and correct processing of NGF was confirmed in vitro. NsG0202 devices were implanted in the basal forebrain of Göttingen minipigs and the function and retrievability were evaluated after 7 weeks, 6 and 12 months. All devices were implanted and retrieved without associated complications. They were physically intact and contained a high number of viable and NGF-producing NGC-0295 cells after explantation. Increased NGF levels were detected in tissue surrounding the devices. The implants were well tolerated as determined by histopathological brain tissue analysis, blood analysis, and general health status of the pigs. The NsG0202 device represents a promising approach for treating the cognitive decline in AD patients.
    Molecular Therapy 12/2010; 18(12):2164-72. · 7.04 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Neural stem cells (NSCs) are powerful research tools for the design and discovery of new approaches to cell therapy in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease. Several epigenetic and genetic strategies have been tested for long-term maintenance and expansion of these cells in vitro. Here we report the generation of a new stable cell line of human neural stem cells derived from ventral mesencephalon (hVM1) based on v-myc immortalization. The cells expressed neural stem cell and radial glia markers like nestin, vimentin and 3CB2 under proliferation conditions. After withdrawal of growth factors, proliferation and expression of v-myc were dramatically reduced and the cells differentiated into astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons. hVM1 cells yield a large number of dopaminergic neurons (about 12% of total cells are TH+) after differentiation, which also produce dopamine. In addition to proneural genes (NGN2, MASH1), differentiated cells show expression of several genuine mesencephalic dopaminergic markers such as: LMX1A, LMX1B, GIRK2, ADH2, NURR1, PITX3, VMAT2 and DAT, indicating that they retain their regional identity. Our data indicate that this cell line and its clonal derivatives may constitute good candidates for the study of development and physiology of human dopaminergic neurons in vitro, and to develop tools for Parkinson's disease cell replacement preclinical research and drug testing.
    Experimental Cell Research 04/2009; 315(11):1860-74. · 3.56 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To date, a variety of pharmacological treatments exists for patients suffering epilepsy, but systemically administered drugs offer only symptomatic relief and often cause unwanted side effects. Moreover, available drugs are not effective in one third of the patients. Thus, more local and more effective treatment strategies need to be developed. Gene therapy-based expression of endogenous anti-epileptic agents represents a novel approach that could interfere with the disease process and result in stable and long-term suppression of seizures in epilepsy patients. We have reported earlier that direct in vivo viral vector-mediated overexpression of the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in the rat hippocampus suppressed seizures in different animal models of epilepsy. Here we explored whether transplantation of encapsulated cells that release GDNF in the hippocampus could also exert a seizure-suppressant effect. Such ex vivo gene therapy approach represents a novel, more clinically safe approach, since the treatment could be terminated by retrieving the transplants from the brain. We demonstrate here that encapsulated cells, which are genetically modified to produce and release GDNF, can suppress recurrent generalized seizures when implanted into the hippocampus of kindled rats.
    Experimental Neurology 02/2009; 216(2):413-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present invention relates to the field of therapeutic use of proteins, genes and cells, in particular to the therapy based on secreted therapeutic proteins, NsG29 and NsG31. NsG29 and NsG31 are members of a newly identified family of growth factors with a specific cystein pattern and characterised by expression in the nevous system. The secreted growth factors have potential for the treatment of disorders of the nervous system. The invention also relates to bioactive NsG29 and NsG31 polypeptide fragments and the corresponding encoding DNA sequences
    Year: 01/2006
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Protein injection studies of the glial cell line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family member Neurturin (NTN) have demonstrated neuroprotective effects on dopaminergic (DA) neurons, which are selectively lost during Parkinson's disease (PD). However, unlike GDNF, NTN has not previously been applied in PD models using an in vivo gene therapy approach. Difficulties with lentiviral gene delivery of wild type (wt) NTN led us to examine the role of the pre-pro-sequence, and to evaluate different NTN constructs in order to optimize gene therapy with NTN. Results from transfected cultured cells showed that wt NTN was poorly processed, and secreted as a pro-form. A similarly poor processing was found with a chimeric protein consisting of the pre-pro-part from GDNF and mature NTN. Moreover, we found that the biological activity of pro-NTN differs from mature NTN, as pro-NTN did not form a signaling complex with the tyrosine kinase receptor Ret and GFRalpha2 or GFRalpha1. Deletion of the pro-region resulted in significantly higher secretion of active NTN, which was further increased when substituting the wt NTN signal peptide with the immunoglobulin heavy-chain signal peptide (IgSP). The enhanced secretion of active mature NTN using the IgSP-NTN construct was reproduced in vivo in lentiviral-transduced rat striatal cells and, unlike wt NTN, enabled efficient neuroprotection of lesioned nigral DA neurons, similar to GDNF. An in vivo gene therapy approach with a modified NTN construct is therefore a possible treatment option for Parkinson's disease that should be further explored.
    Experimental Neurology 10/2005; 195(1):49-60. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During the past decade, lentiviral vectors based on the HIV-1 genome have been developed to become highly useful tools for efficient and stable delivery of transgenes to dividing and nondividing cells in a variety of experimental protocols. The vector system has been progressively and substantially improved,mainly to meet growing concerns over safety issues. However, the actual design and size of the lentiviral transfer vector often makes transgene cloning and DNA preparation a troublesome task. In this study, the pHR transfer vector used for lentivirus production in many laboratories was modified to contain a more versatile polylinker than the one present in the original pHR vector. In addition, the vector was significantly reduced in size from 12 to 7 kb, by replacing the original vector backbone with sequence from the multipurpose pUC18 vector. These modifications allowed for easier cloning and higher DNA yields without compromising the fundamental ability of this vector system to transduce cells in vitro and in vivo. Finally, the trimmed vector sequence was fully characterized by sequencing the vector in its entirety. In both cultured cells and directly into the rat striatum, transduction with this lentivirus, based on the modified pHsCXW vector, was as efficient and durable as with the pHR vector-based virus. In conclusion, the modified lentiviral transfer vector pHsCXW holds promise as a new valuable tool for the research community in the field of gene transfer.
    Molecular Biotechnology 02/2005; 29(1):47-56. · 2.26 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Disclosed are NsG28, NsG30, NsG32 polypeptides, nucleic acids encoding NsG28, NsG30, NsG32 polypeptides, and antibodies that bind to NsG28, NsG30, NsG32 polypeptides as well as methods of making and using the same.
    Ref. No: US 20090136552 A1, Year: 01/2004
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The development of a set of synthetic mammalian promoters with different specific activities is described. The library is based on a synthetic promoter, JeT, constructed as a 200 bp chimeric promoter built from fragments of the viral SV40 early promoter and the human beta-actin and ubiquitin C promoters. The JeT promoter was made by separating the included consensus boxes by the same distances in base pairs as found in the wild-type promoters, thus preserving transcription factor interaction. The resulting promoter was shown to drive reporter expression to high levels in enhanced green fluorescent protein and secreted alkaline phosphatase reporter assays. By replacing sequences separating the transcription factor binding sites with randomized sequences of the same length, sets of new promoters with different strengths, spanning a 10-fold range of transcriptional activity in cell culture, was obtained. The measured activity of each promoter in the library was highly specific and reproducible when tested in HiB5 and ARPE-19 cell culture.
    Gene 10/2002; 297(1-2):21-32. · 2.20 Impact Factor