Clinical Gene Transfer Studies for Hemophilia A


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Abstract

The recent advances in gene transfer technology have expedited the development of gene therapy for the treatment of hemophilia A. Three different U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved phase I clinical trials had been initiated using different gene therapy approaches each with their own advantages and limitations. In the first gene therapy trial for hemophilia A, a non-viral approach was being explored for patients with severe hemophilia A using ex vivo transfected dermal fibroblast expressing B-domain-deleted factor VIII (BDD-FVIII). There were no serious adverse events and some patients appeared to have experienced fewer bleeding episodes with very low levels of FVIII near baseline. In the second trial, onco-retroviral vectors expressing BDD-FVIII were injected by peripheral intravenous infusion in adult patients suffering from severe hemophilia A. The procedure was safe and in some patients FVIII-transduced cells were detectable in the peripheral blood for more than a year. Although no sustained FVIII expression was detectable, occasional modest changes in FVIII levels were apparent, and in some cases a reduced bleeding frequency occurred compared with historical rates. In another trial, one patient suffering from severe hemophilia A has been treated with a high-capacity (or gutless) adenoviral vector expressing full-length FVIII, which appeared to have resulted in 1% of normal FVIII levels for several months. However, a transient inflammatory response with hematologic and liver abnormalities was observed. In conclusion, although modest improvements in clinical end points have been detected in some patients in these early phase I trials, further improvements in gene delivery technologies are warranted to bring hemophilia A gene therapy one step closer to reality.

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