Navigation Links
Gene therapy for hereditary lung disease advances

An experimental gene therapy to combat alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a common hereditary disorder that causes lung and liver disease, has caused no harmful effects in patients and shows signs of being effective, University of Florida researchers say.

In a clinical trial, researchers evaluated the safety of using a so-called gene vector - in this case an adeno-associated virus - to deliver a corrective gene to 12 patients who are unable to produce a protein essential for health called alpha-1 antitrypsin.

"The primary end point in the trial was to see whether it was safe to give patients this gene transfer vector and then to try to begin to see if we could get the dose into a range where we would begin to replace the missing protein in the blood," said Terence Flotte, M.D., a pediatrician, geneticist and microbiologist with UF's College of Medicine and a member of the Powell Gene Therapy Center and the UF Genetics Institute. "We found that we can use this agent safely and we also saw evidence in the patients' blood that the higher doses successfully introduced the vector DNA. In one patient we saw evidence for a very brief period that some of the alpha-1 protein was being produced, but not at a high enough level to be beneficial."

The findings appear online today (Nov. 21) in the journal Human Gene Therapy.

Physicians injected doses of the virus containing copies of the gene for alpha-1 antitrypsin into the patients' upper arms. Essentially, the virus is intended to "infect" patients' cells with replacement genes that will do the necessary work to produce alpha-1 protein. UF scientists have successfully developed the technique in animal models.

The next step is to test the therapy with a different version of the adeno-associated virus; about 200 variations of the virus exist in nature.

"We have another version of the virus that appears in animal studies to be close to a thousandfold more potent at making pro tein," Flotte said. "That's very encouraging to us. So the next trial, which has already begun, is to use the new version of the virus and take patients through a similar range of doses, in a very similar scheme, and see if we can maintain the safety while pumping up the efficiency of the protein production."

In most people, alpha-1 antitrypsin is made in the liver and protects the lungs by counteracting inflammatory products that destroy lung tissue. But about 100,000 Americans have alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, according to the Miami-based Alpha-1 Foundation, a national not-for-profit organization devoted to finding a cure. In addition, medical authorities suspect less than 5 percent of affected individuals are diagnosed, often not until they are in their mid- to late-30s, after extensive lung damage occurs. Shortness of breath, wheezing, chronic cough and recurring chest colds are signs of the disease.

It is important that alpha-1 patients avoid cigarette smoke, said Mark Brantly, M.D., a professor of medicine and molecular genetics and microbiology at UF's College of Medicine who develops clinical research programs aimed at developing therapies for alpha-1 patients. Alpha-1 deficiency can in some patients lead to emphysema and cirrhosis, both progressive diseases that can be fatal.

Alpha-1 patients with symptoms of emphysema can be treated through weekly intravenous injections of alpha-1 protein derived from human plasma. The injections must continue throughout a patient's life, according to the American Lung Association. It does not cure, but it does appear to slow the progression of this disease.

Patients in the clinical trial - 10 men and two women who ranged from 42 to 69 - were asked to discontinue their replacement therapy 28 days before receiving the gene therapy.

One volunteer who had not been on protein replacement therapy exhibited low-level expression of alpha-1 antitrypsin, which was detectable 30 days after receiving an injection. However, residual levels of alpha-1 antitrypsin from the replacement therapy in the other patients obscured whether the alpha-1 gene had begun to express protein.

"As the authors conclude, the results set up the more interesting approach of using other AAV serotypes more suited for muscle delivery as an alternative with the same transgene in the next trial," said Richard J. Samulski, a professor of pharmacology and director of the University of North Carolina's Gene Therapy Center. "These studies are important milestones that allow the potential for gene correction of AAT to advance, as well as the (gene therapy) field in general. They also represent the step-by-step process established by the FDA and research community to ensure that safe and good clinical studies are employed in these early days, and I applaud Terry Flotte and his group for being cautious and thorough in their clinical design."
'"/>

Source:University of Florida


Related biology news :

1. Adding Radiation Therapy To Chemotherapy Improves Survival In Patients With High-risk Breast Cancer
2. Columbia research lifts major hurdle to gene therapy for cancer
3. Combination therapy boosts effectiveness of telomere-directed cancer cell death
4. Gene therapy converts dead bone graft to new, living tissue
5. Study identifies predictors of HIV drug resistance in patients beginning triple therapy
6. New imaging method gives early indication if brain cancer therapy is effective, U-M study shows
7. Muscle-targeted gene therapy reverses rare muscular dystrophy in mice
8. New therapy for HIV/AIDS eliminates needles and excessive toxicity
9. New Treatment Rivals Chemotherapy For Lymphoma, Study Finds
10. Gene therapy for Parkinsons disease moves forward in animals
11. Pulsating ultrasound enhances gene therapy for tumors

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/3/2016)... LONDON , June 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transport Management) von Nepal ... ,Angebot und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich ... weltweit führend in der Produktion und Implementierung ... an der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... June 2, 2016   The Weather Company , an ... Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers will be able ... to ask questions via voice or text and receive relevant ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution ... can be personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... 1, 2016 Favorable Government Initiatives ... and Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System Market ... TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics Market By ... and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics market ... on account of growing security concerns across various end ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... clinical trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. ... multiple ascending dose studies designed to assess the ... subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... as a single dose (ranging from 45 to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June 23, 2016 ... trading session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial ... S&P 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), ... Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division ... tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing ... collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016 Cell Applications, Inc. and StemoniX ... produce up to one billion human induced pluripotent ... week. These high-quality, consistent stem cells enable researchers ... spend more time doing meaningful, relevant research. This ... manufacturing process that produces affordable, reliable HiPSC for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: