AAV-mediated gene therapy for galactosialidosis: A long-term safety and efficacy study

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2021 Oct 28;23:644-658. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2021.10.007. eCollection 2021 Dec 10.


AAV-mediated gene therapy holds promise for the treatment of lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs), some of which are already in clinical trials. Yet, ultra-rare subtypes of LSDs, such as some glycoproteinoses, have lagged. Here, we report on a long-term safety and efficacy preclinical study conducted in the murine model of galactosialidosis, a glycoproteinosis caused by a deficiency of protective protein/cathepsin A (PPCA). One-month-old Ctsa -/- mice were injected intravenously with a high dose of a self-complementary AAV2/8 vector expressing human CTSA in the liver. Treated mice, examined up to 12 months post injection, appeared grossly indistinguishable from their wild-type littermates. Sustained expression of scAAV2/8-CTSA in the liver resulted in the release of the therapeutic precursor protein in circulation and its widespread uptake by cells in visceral organs and the brain. Increased cathepsin A activity resolved lysosomal vacuolation throughout the affected organs and sialyl-oligosacchariduria. No signs of hyperplasia or inflammation were detected in the liver up to a year of age. Clinical chemistry panels, blood cell counts, and T cell immune responses were normal in all treated animals. These results warrant a close consideration of this gene therapy approach for the treatment of galactosialidosis, an orphan disease with no cure in sight.

Keywords: AAV-mediated gene therapy; galactosialidosis; lysosomal multienzyme complex; lysosomal storage disease; protective protein cathepsin A.