Preclinical Gene Therapy Studies for Hemophilia Using Adenoviral Vectors

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Hemophilia A and B are hereditary coagulation defects resulting from a deficiency of factor VIII (FVIII) and factor IX (FIX), respectively. Introducing a functional FVIII or FIX gene could potentially provide a cure for these bleeding disorders. Adenoviral vectors have been used as tools to introduce potentially therapeutic genes into mammalian cells and are by far the most efficient vectors for hepatic gene delivery. Long-term expression of both FVIII and FIX has been achieved in preclinical (hemophilic) mouse models using adenoviral vectors. Therapeutic levels of FVIII and FIX also have been achieved in hemophilic dogs using adenoviral vectors and in some cases expression was long-term. The performance of earlier generation adenoviral vectors, which retained residual viral genes, was compromised by potent acute and chronic inflammatory responses that contributed to significant toxicity and morbidity and short-term expression of FVIII and FIX. The development of improved adenoviral vectors devoid of viral genes (gutless or high-capacity adenoviral vectors) was therefore warranted, which led to a significant reduction in acute and chronic toxicity and more prolonged expression of FVIII and FIX. Strategies aimed at making these vectors safer and less immunogenic and their implications for hemophilia gene therapy are discussed in this review.

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