RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Improved efficacy of gene therapy approaches for Pompe disease using a new, immune-deficient GSD-II mouse model.

Gene Therapy 2004 November
Glycogen storage disease type II (GSD-II) is a lysosomal storage disorder in which the lack of human acid-alpha glucosidase (hGAA) activity results in massive accumulations of glycogen in cardiac and skeletal muscle fibers. Affected individuals die of cardiorespiratory failure secondary to the skeletal and/or cardiac muscle involvement. Recombinant hGAA enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is currently in clinical trials and, although promising, ERT may be limited by large-scale production issues and/or the need for frequent infusions. These limitations could be circumvented or augmented by gene therapy strategies. Previous findings in our lab demonstrated that hepatic targeting of a modified adenovirus vector expressing human GAA was able to correct the glycogen accumulation in multiple affected muscles in the GAA-KO mice, by virtue of high-level, hepatic secretion of hGAA. However, although the vector persisted and expressed hGAA for 6 months in the liver, plasma hGAA was not detectable beyond 10 dpi (days postinjection), and reaccumulation of glycogen was observed. Two possibilities may have contributed to this phenomenon, the shut down of the CMV promoter and/or the onset of high levels of anti-hGAA antibodies. In order to test these and other possibilities, we have now developed an immune-deficient mouse model of GSD-II by interbreeding GAA-KO mice with severe combined immune-deficient (SCID) mice, generating double knockout, GAA-KO/SCID mice. In this new mouse model, we evaluated the efficacy of an [E1-, polymerase-] AdhGAA vector, in the absence of anti-hGAA antibody responses. After intravenous injection, GAA detection in the plasma was prolonged for at least 6 months secondary to the lack of anti-hGAA antibody production in all of the treated mice. GAA-KO/SCID mice treated with high doses of viral vector demonstrated longer durations of glycogen correction in both skeletal and cardiac muscles, relative to mice injected with lower doses of the vector. Notably, within 2 weeks of vector injection, muscle strength and coordination was normalized, and the improved muscle function persisted for at least 6 months. In summary, this new mouse model of GSD-II now makes it possible to assess the full potential for efficacy of any GAA-expressing vector (and/or ERT) contemplated for use in GSD-II gene therapy, without the negative influence that anti-hGAA antibodies entail.

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