Usher syndrome type 1B is a combined deaf-blindness condition caused by mutations in the MYO7A gene. Loss of functional myosin VIIa in the retinal pigment epithelia (RPE) and/or photoreceptors leads to blindness. We evaluated the impact of subretinally delivered UshStat, a recombinant EIAV-based lentiviral vector expressing human MYO7A, on photoreceptor function in the shaker1 mouse model for Usher type 1B that lacks a functional Myo7A gene. Subretinal injections of EIAV-CMV-GFP, EIAV-RK-GFP (photoreceptor specific), EIAV-CMV-MYO7A (UshStat) or EIAV-CMV-Null (control) vectors were performed in shaker1 mice. GFP and myosin VIIa expression was evaluated histologically. Photoreceptor function in EIAV-CMV-MYO7A treated eyes was determined by evaluating ?-transducin translocation in photoreceptors in response to low light intensity levels, and protection from light induced photoreceptor degeneration was measured. The safety and tolerability of subretinally delivered UshStat was evaluated in macaques. Expression of GFP and myosin VIIa was confirmed in the RPE and photoreceptors in shaker1 mice following subretinal delivery of the EIAV-CMV-GFP/MYO7A vectors. The EIAV-CMV-MYO7A vector protected the shaker1 mouse photoreceptors from acute and chronic intensity light damage, indicated by a significant reduction in photoreceptor cell loss, and restoration of the ?-transducin translocation threshold in the photoreceptors. Safety studies in the macaques demonstrated that subretinal delivery of UshStat is safe and well-tolerated. Subretinal delivery of EIAV-CMV-MYO7A (UshStat) rescues photoreceptor phenotypes in the shaker1 mouse. In addition, subretinally delivered UshStat is safe and well-tolerated in macaque safety studies These data support the clinical development of UshStat to treat Usher type 1B syndrome.
StarGen is an equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV)-based lentiviral vector that expresses the photoreceptor-specific adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-binding cassette transporter (ABCA4) protein that is mutated in Stargardt disease (STGD1), a juvenile macular dystrophy. EIAV vectors are able to efficiently transduce rod and cone photoreceptors in addition to retinal pigment epithelium in the adult macaque and rabbit retina following subretinal delivery. The safety and biodistribution of StarGen following subretinal delivery in macaques and rabbits was assessed.
This study describes a combined gene and cell therapy based on the genetic modification of primary human macrophages, as a treatment for cancer. Here, we have utilised the tumour-infiltrating properties of macrophages as vehicles to deliver a gene encoding a prodrug-activating enzyme such as human cytochrome P450 2B6 (CYP2B6) inside tumours followed by killing the tumour cells with the prodrug cyclophosphamide (CPA). Macrophages were transduced with an adenoviral vector that expresses human cytochrome CYP2B6 via a synthetic hypoxia responsive promoter (OBHRE) and with human P450 reductase (P450R), via the CMV promoter. In the presence of CPA, these genetically modified macrophages showed increased cytotoxicity against various tumour cell lines compared to untransduced macrophages or macrophages transduced with CYP2B6 alone. In human ovarian carcinoma xenograft models, the median survival of mice treated with genetically modified macrophages plus CPA increased up to two-fold compared to the survival of mice treated with untransduced macrophages and CPA. Genetically modified autologous macrophages may be a feasible therapeutic option for the treatment of some solid tumours, such as ovarian cancer.
Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) is a nonprimate lentivirus that does not cause human disease. Subretinal injection into mice of a recombinant EIAV lentiviral vector in which lacZ is driven by a CMV promoter (EIAV CMV LacZ) resulted in rapid and strong expression of LacZ in retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells and some other cells including ganglion cells, resulting in the presence of 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside within the optic nerve. Substitution of the RPE-specific promoter from the vitelliform macular dystrophy (VMD2) gene for the CMV promoter resulted in prolonged (at least 1 year) expression of LacZ that was restricted to RPE cells, albeit reduced 6- to 10-fold compared with the CMV promoter. Similarly, the amount of FLAG-tagged endostatin detected in eyes injected with the EIAV VMD2 Endo(FLAG) vector was similar to that seen in eyes injected with a vector that expressed both endostatin and angiostatin [EIAV VMD2 Endo(FLAG)/Angio]; expression was approximately 6-fold lower than with identical vectors in which the CMV promoter drove expression. Compared with murine eyes treated with a control EIAV vector, subretinal injection of EIAV vectors expressing murine endostatin alone or in combination with angiostatin driven by either the CMV or VMD2 promoter caused significant suppression of choroidal neovascularization (NV) at laser-induced rupture sites in Bruchs membrane. These data support proceeding toward clinical studies with EIAV-based gene therapy for choroidal NV, using the VMD2 promoter to selectively drive expression of a combination of endostatin and angiostatin in RPE cells.
The interest in integrase-defective lentiviral vectors (IDLVs) stems from their potential advantage of large cloning capacity and broad cell tropism while avoiding the possibility of insertional mutagenesis. Here, we directly compared the transducing potential of IDLVs based on the equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) to the more commonly described HIV-1 IDLVs. IDLVs were constructed by introducing equivalent single/triple mutations into the integrase catalytic triad. We show that both the single and the triple mutant HIV-1 IDLVs transduce the PC12 cells, but not the C2C12 cells, with similar efficiency to their parental HIV-1 vector. In contrast, the single and triple EIAV IDLVs did not efficiently transduce either differentiated cell line. Moreover, this HIV-1 IDLV-mediated expression was independent of any residual integration activity because reporter expression was lost when cell cycling was restored. Four weeks following stereotactic administration into adult rat brains, only the single HIV-1 IDLV mutant displayed a comparable transduction profile to the parental HIV-1 vector. In contrast, neither EIAV IDLV mutants showed significant reporter gene expression. This work indicates that the transducing potential of IDLVs appears to depend not only on the choice of integrase mutation and type of target cell, but also on the nature of the lentiviral vector.Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids (2012) 1, e60; doi:10.1038/mtna.2012.53; published online 11 December 2012.
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