Studies on gene therapy for hemophilia B (HB) using adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors showed that the safety of a given strategy is directly related to the vector dose. To overcome this limitation, we sought to test the efficacy and the risk of immunogenicity of a novel factor IX (FIX) R338L associated with ~8-fold increased specific activity. Muscle-directed expression of canine FIX-R338L by AAV vectors was carried out in HB dogs. Therapeutic levels of circulating canine FIX activity (3.5-8%) showed 8-9 fold increased specific activity, similar to humans with FIX-R338L. Phenotypic improvement was documented by the lack of bleeding episodes for a cumulative 5-year observation. No antibody formation and T cell responses to FIX-R338L were observed even upon challenges with FIX-wild type protein. Moreover, no adverse vascular thrombotic complications were noted. Thus, FIX-R338L provides an attractive strategy to safely enhance the efficacy of gene therapy for HB.
- Submitted June 28, 2012.
- Accepted August 10, 2012.
- Copyright © 2005 American Society of Hematology