In this episode of JCI's Author's Take, Donald Kohn of UCLA describes his group's efforts to develop a method to safely and effectively modify patient bone marrow to treat sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in hemoglobin (HBB) that leads to rigid, deformed red blood cells, as seen in the accompanying image. A small number of patients have been successfully treated with allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation; however, there are several drawbacks and complications associated with this procedure. Many complications could potentially be avoided by performing an autologous HSC transplant in combination with gene therapy to over-ride the defective hemoglobin gene. Zulema Romero, Donald Kohn, and colleagues investigated the utility of a lentiviral vector encoding a human b-globin gene engineered to impede sickle hemoglobin polymerization. The vector efficiently transduced bone marrow cells from SCD patients and expressed the engineered globin gene to prevent sickling of red blood cells and the transduced cells were successfully transplanted into immunocompromised mice, indicating that this method could potentially be used to treat SCD.
Autologous hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy is an approach to treating sickle cell disease (SCD) patients that may result in lower morbidity than allogeneic transplantation. We examined the potential of a lentiviral vector (LV) (CCL-βAS3-FB) encoding a human hemoglobin (
Zulema Romero, Fabrizia Urbinati, Sabine Geiger, Aaron R. Cooper, Jennifer Wherley, Michael L. Kaufman, Roger P. Hollis, Rafael Ruiz de Assin, Shantha Senadheera, Arineh Sahagian, Xiangyang Jin, Alyse Gellis, Xiaoyan Wang, David Gjertson, Satiro DeOliveira, Pamela Kempert, Sally Shupien, Hisham Abdel-Azim, Mark C. Walters, Herbert J. Meiselman, Rosalinda B. Wenby, Theresa Gruber, Victor Marder, Thomas D. Coates, Donald B. Kohn