International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-014-1524-z Pages: 383-392

Gene transfer into hematopoietic stem cells as treatment for primary immunodeficiency diseases

1. National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch

Correspondence to:
Fabio Candotti
Tel: 1-301-4352944
Fax: 1-301-4803678



Gene transfer into the hematopoietic stem cell has shown curative potential for a variety of hematological disorders. Primary immunodeficiency diseases have led to the way in this field of gene therapy as an example and a model. Clinical results from the past 15 years have shown that significant improvement and even cure can be achieved for diseases such as X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency, adenosine deaminase deficiency, chronic granulomatous disease and Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome. Unfortunately, with the initial clear clinical benefits, the first serious complications of gene therapy have also occurred. In a significant number of patients treated using vectors based on murine gamma-retroviruses and carrying powerful viral enhancer elements, insertional oncogenesis events have resulted in acute leukemias that, in some cases, have had fatal outcomes. These serious adverse events have sparked a revision of the assessment of risks and benefits of integrating gene transfer for hematological diseases and prompted the development and application of new generations of viral vectors with recognized superior safety characteristics. This review summarizes the clinical experience of gene therapy for primary immunodeficiencies and discusses the likely avenues of progress in the future development of this expanding field of clinical investigations.

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