Commentary and podcast on landmark gene therapy clinical trial for hemophilia B

December 12, 2011

New Rochelle, NY, December 12, 2011--A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that Factor IX gene therapy in patients with hemophilia B was able to convert severe hemophilia to moderate or even mild disease. In a timely commentary, Thierry VandenDriessche, PhD, Methods Editor for Human Gene Therapy and Human Gene Therapy Methods says that this clinical trial represents an important milestone and "demonstrates unequivocally that gene therapy can result in a sustained therapeutic effect in hemophilia B patients." Read the commentary and listen to the accompanying podcast from Human Gene Therapy. Human Gene Therapy and HGT Methods are peer-reviewed journals published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc..

The clinical trial reported in NEJM "builds on prior work and on encouraging pre-clinical data in non-human primates," states VandenDriessche and coauthor of the commentary with Marinee Chuah, PhD, Department of Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine, Free University of Brussels and the Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology, University of Leuven, Belgium. It demonstrated that injection of an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector carrying the gene for the clotting factor FIX into patients with severe hemophilia B led to efficient delivery of the gene into liver cells and sufficient production of the FIX protein to transform the disease from severe to a moderate or mild form of hemophilia, although it does not represent a cure. This effect has been stable and has eliminated or substantially reduced the need for the patients to receive standard protein replacement, which is cumbersome and expensive. Substantial improvements in vector technology set the stage for this success; these included a self-complementary genome to increase efficiency pioneered by R. Jude Samulski, PhD, Director, Gene Therapy Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the use of a novel AAV capsid from a natural rhesus monkey isolate called AAV8, which was discovered and developed by James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Human Gene Therapy and Human Gene Therapy Methods, and Director of the Gene Therapy Program, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Recently published articles in Human Gene Therapy document the development and optimization of the AAV vectors used to deliver the FIX gene in this clinical trial. Two key papers are:"The successful treatment of patients with hemophilia B with gene therapy is a landmark event representing the culmination of over 20 years of work by many laboratories," says James M. Wilson, MD, PhD. "We are delighted that Human Gene Therapy was a venue for publishing critical aspects of the development of this product."
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Human Gene Therapy and HGT Methods, the Official Journal of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, British Society for Gene Therapy, French Society of Cell and Gene Therapy, German Society of Gene Therapy, and five other gene therapy societies is the authoritative peer-reviewed journal published 18 times per year in print and online. Human Gene Therapy presents reports on the transfer and expression of genes in mammals, including humans. Related topics include improvements in vector development, delivery systems, and animal models, particularly in the areas of cancer, heart disease, viral disease, genetic disease, and neurological disease, as well as ethical, legal, and regulatory issues related to the gene transfer in humans. Tables of contents and a free sample issue may be viewed online at www.liebertpub.com/hum

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Nucleic Acid Therapeutics, Stem Cells and Development, and Cellular Reprogramming. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 60 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available at our website.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 140 Huguenot St., New Rochelle, NY 10801-5215 www.liebertpub.com
Phone: (914) 740-2100 (800) M-LIEBERT Fax: (914) 740-2101

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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