Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene therapy for hereditary lung disease advances

23.11.2006
Technique to combat alpha-1 antitrypsin disorder passes safety hurdle

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."

... more about:
»Injection »alpha-1 »antitrypsin »replacement »trial

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 protein," 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."

John D. Pastor | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu

Further reports about: Injection alpha-1 antitrypsin replacement trial

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Navigational view of the brain thanks to powerful X-rays
18.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Separating methane and CO2 will become more efficient
18.10.2017 | KU Leuven

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>