Research ArticleGene Therapy

Sustained Normalization of Neurological Disease after Intracranial Gene Therapy in a Feline Model

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Science Translational Medicine  09 Apr 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 231, pp. 231ra48
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3007733

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Progressive debilitating neurological defects characterize feline GM1 gangliosidosis, a lysosomal storage disease caused by deficiency of lysosomal β-galactosidase. No effective therapy exists for affected children, who often die before age 5 years. An adeno-associated viral vector carrying the therapeutic gene was injected bilaterally into two brain targets (thalamus and deep cerebellar nuclei) of a feline model of GM1 gangliosidosis. Gene therapy normalized β-galactosidase activity and storage throughout the brain and spinal cord. The mean survival of 12 treated GM1 animals was >38 months, compared to 8 months for untreated animals. Seven of the eight treated animals remaining alive demonstrated normalization of disease, with abrogation of many symptoms including gait deficits and postural imbalance. Sustained correction of the GM1 gangliosidosis disease phenotype after limited intracranial targeting by gene therapy in a large animal model suggests that this approach may be useful for treating the human version of this lysosomal storage disorder.

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