Research ArticleGene Therapy

CRISPR-Cas9 gene repair of hematopoietic stem cells from patients with X-linked chronic granulomatous disease

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Science Translational Medicine  11 Jan 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 372, eaah3480
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aah3480

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Seamless gene repair with CRISPR

Targeted gene therapy has been hampered by the inability to correct mutations in stem cells that can reconstitute the immune system after transplant into patients. De Ravin et al. now report that CRISPR, a DNA editing technology, corrected blood stem cells from patients with an immunodeficiency disorder (chronic granulomatous disease) caused by mutations in NOX2. CRISPR-repaired human stem cells engrafted in mice after transplant and differentiated into leukocytes with a functional NOX2 protein for up to 5 months. The authors did not detect off-target treatment effects, suggesting that this gene repair strategy may benefit patients with chronic granulomatous disease or other blood disorders.


Gene repair of CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) may avoid problems associated with gene therapy, such as vector-related mutagenesis and dysregulated transgene expression. We used CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat)/Cas9 (CRISPR-associated 9) to repair a mutation in the CYBB gene of CD34+ HSPCs from patients with the immunodeficiency disorder X-linked chronic granulomatous disease (X-CGD). Sequence-confirmed repair of >20% of HSPCs from X-CGD patients restored the function of NADPH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) oxidase and superoxide radical production in myeloid cells differentiated from these progenitor cells in vitro. Transplant of gene-repaired X-CGD HSPCs into NOD (nonobese diabetic) SCID (severe combined immunodeficient) γc−/− mice resulted in efficient engraftment and production of functional mature human myeloid and lymphoid cells for up to 5 months. Whole-exome sequencing detected no indels outside of the CYBB gene after gene correction. CRISPR-mediated gene editing of HSPCs may be applicable to other CGD mutations and other monogenic disorders of the hematopoietic system.

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