Gene therapy approaches have been difficult to implement due to pre-existing immunity against the virus used for delivery. To circumvent this problem, a cell-based approach was developed that avoided the use of free virus within the animal. However, even cells transduced in vitro with E1- to E3-deleted adenovirus encoding bone morphogenetic protein 2 (AdBMP2) resulted in the production of virus-neutralizing antibodies in mice. Furthermore, when mice received an intramuscular injection of nonencoding adenovirus (AdEmpty)-transduced cells, AdBMP2-transduced cells were unable to launch bone formation when an intramuscular injection of these BMP2-producing cells was delivered 1 week later. This phenomenon was not observed in NOD/SCID mice, and could be overcome in C57BL/6 mice by encapsulating the adenovirus-transduced cells in a nondegradable hydrogel poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA). Data collectively suggest that PEGDA hydrogel encapsulation of AdBMP2-transduced cells prevents pre-existing immunity from suppressing BMP2-induced bone formation.
Keywords: bone formation; cell therapy; in vivo delivery system; priming.