Advances in site-specific gene editing for primary immune deficiencies

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Conventional gene therapy has been a successful, curative treatment modality for many primary immune deficiencies with significant improvements in the last decade. However, the risk of leukemic transformation with viral-mediated gene addition still remains, and unregulated gene addition is not an option for certain diseases in which the target gene is closely controlled. The recent bloom in genome modification platforms has created the opportunity to site-specifically correct mutated DNA base pairs or insert a corrective cDNA minigene while maintaining gene expression under control of endogenous regulatory elements.

Recent findings

There is an abundance of ongoing research utilizing programmable nucleases to facilitate site-specific gene correction of many primary immune deficiencies including X-linked severe combined immune deficiency, X-linked chronic granulomatous disease, Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome, X-linked hyper-IgM syndrome, X-linked agammaglobulinemia, and immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked. In all, these studies have demonstrated the ability to integrate corrective DNA sequences at a precise location in the genome at rates likely to either cure or ameliorate disease.

Summary

Gene editing for primary immune deficiency (PID) has advanced to the point to that translation to clinical trials is likely to occur in the next several years. At the current pace of research in DNA repair mechanisms, stem cell biology, and genome-editing technology, targeted genome modification represents the next chapter of gene therapy for PID.

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