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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11249

Title: Retrovirus-mediated Gene Therapy For Farber Disease
Authors: Ramsubir, Shobha
Advisor: Medin, Jeffrey A.
Department: Medical Biophysics
Keywords: Gene Therapy
Lysosomal Storage Disease
Farber Disease
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2008
Abstract: Farber disease is a rare lysosomal storage disease (LSD) caused by a deficiency of acid ceramidase (AC). Patients show a classic triad of symptoms including subcutaneous granulomas, laryngeal involvement and painful swollen joints. The most common and severe form has neurological manifestations and patients typically die by the age of two. Current treatment consists of symptomatic supportive care and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). However, BMT has shown limited success. Gene therapy has previously been shown to be a promising treatment strategy for monogenetic diseases and has the potential to treat the underlying cause of the disease. Presented here is the first report of in vivo testing of retrovirus-mediated gene therapy strategies for the treatment of Farber disease. Retroviral vectors were engineered to overexpress AC and a cell surface marker, human CD25. Transduction with these viral vectors corrected the enzymatic defect in Farber patient cells and in vivo administration of the lentiviral vector led to long-term expression of the marking transgene as well as increased AC expression in the liver. To determine the effect of over-expression of AC, human CD34+ cells were transduced and transplanted into NOD/SCID animals. It was found that transgene-expressing cells could reconstitute the host. To address the neurological manifestations of Farber disease, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was investigated as an agent to transiently open the blood brain barrier for entry of lentivirus. It was found that in addition to increasing the amount of therapeutic virus in the brain, VEGF treatment also increased transduction in other organs. Further, to address the concerns of insertional mutagenesis associated with using integrating vectors, an immunotoxin-based strategy was developed as a safety system to clear transduced cells. It was found that a CD25-targeted immunotoxin could eliminate both transduced hematopoietic cells as well as tumor cells over-expressing CD25. This strategy can be employed following gene therapy should an unwanted proliferative event occur. Together, these studies represent considerable advances towards the development of a cure for Farber disease, demonstrating both therapeutic potential and also containing a built-in safety system.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11249
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Medical Biophysics - Doctoral theses

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