Enzyme replacement therapy can be used to treat the disease, but it is only temporary and not curative. Bone marrow transplant using hematopoietic stem cells also has been tested on some patients with mixed results. The transplant procedure can carry severe risks and does not always work.
Pan and her colleagues including Roscoe O. Brady, MD, a researcher at NINDS report that using platelets and megakaryocytes for gene therapy is effective and could reduce the risk of activating cancer-causing oncogenes in hematopoietic stem cells.
The authors said tests showed that human megakaryocytic cells were capable of overexpressing IDUA, revealing their capacity for potential therapeutic benefit. While engineering megakaryocytes and platelets for infusion into their mouse models of Hurler, the scientists report they were able to release IDUA directly into amply sized extracellular spaces or inside micro-particles as the cells matured or activated. The cells were able to produce and package large amounts of functional IDUA and retained the capacity to cross-correct patient cells.
After infusing mouse models of Hurler with the genetically modified cells, researchers said this led to long-term normalization of IDUA levels in the animal's blood with versatile delivery routes and on-target preferential distribution to the liver and spleen. The treatment led to a complete metabolic correction of MPS I in most peripheral organs of the mice.
Researchers cautioned that study results involving laboratory mouse models do not always translate into clinical treatment of human patients, and that additional research is needed for this prospective therapy.
|Contact: Nick Miller|
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center