Poster Board III-509
Strategies using gene-modified hematopoietic stem cells to treat various severe hematopoietic diseases, including but not limited to hemoglobinopathies, will likely require high levels of gene marking. Here we have established efficient and stable in vivo selection in nonhuman primates using methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMTP140K). In the macaque (Macaca nemestrina) we were able to increase pre-chemotherapy lentiviral gene marking levels of 11.3% in granulocytes and 15.3% in lymphocytes to a post-chemotherapy gene marking level of 76.9% in granulocytes and 49.0% in lymphocytes. Furthermore, stable increases in gene marking were also observed in red blood cells (RBCs) and platelets (PLTs) with a pre-chemotherapy gene marking level of 5.6% and 6.7%, respectively, and a post-chemotherapy gene marking level of 15.2% and 64.0%, respectively. Importantly, the chemotherapy regimen was well tolerated, and engraftment was polyclonal as determined by analyzing long-term repopulating clones by LAM-PCR. In order to minimize extra-hematopoietic toxicity we have began to test a more clinically applicable conditioning regimen in the macaque model. This reduced intensity conditioning regimen should allow treatment of patients with severe hematopoietic or infectious diseases, who may not tolerate a high dose conditioning regimen. We tested targeted busulfan for conditioning to provide sufficient myelosuppression and to facilitate engraftment of chemoprotected hematopoietic stem cells while minimizing extra-hematopoietic toxicity. Following conditioning with busulfan (4 mg/kg/day for 2 days) and infusion of gene modified cells (∼1.7 × 107 CD34-selected cells/kg), there was moderate cytopenia with ANC <500/mL for 7 days and thrombocytopenia with a nadir of 18,000/mL. Following stable hematopoietic recovery, we observed gene marking, determined by RT-PCR, in total white blood cells as a provirus copy number of 0.04 (∼4% gene marking) that, following a single cycle of O6BG (x2) and BCNU, rose to 0.16 (∼16% gene marking). Currently, gene marking has been stable for more than 9 months following chemotherapy. The treatment was well tolerated with only transient elevated liver enzymes following O6BG/BCNU treatment and no additional extra-hematopoietic toxicity has been observed. Clonality studies before and after in vivo selection is underway using a combination of LAM-PCR and a modified whole genome pyrosequencing approach. In summary, we have attained efficient and stable in vivo selection of long-term repopulating cells in nonhuman primates, and have extended this approach to use a reduced intensity conditioning regimen that should be well tolerated in patients with many hematopoietic diseases.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.