AAV gene therapy for Tay-Sachs disease

Nat Med. 2022 Feb;28(2):251-259. doi: 10.1038/s41591-021-01664-4. Epub 2022 Feb 10.


Tay-Sachs disease (TSD) is an inherited neurological disorder caused by deficiency of hexosaminidase A (HexA). Here, we describe an adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy expanded-access trial in two patients with infantile TSD (IND 18225) with safety as the primary endpoint and no secondary endpoints. Patient TSD-001 was treated at 30 months with an equimolar mix of AAVrh8-HEXA and AAVrh8-HEXB administered intrathecally (i.t.), with 75% of the total dose (1 × 1014 vector genomes (vg)) in the cisterna magna and 25% at the thoracolumbar junction. Patient TSD-002 was treated at 7 months by combined bilateral thalamic (1.5 × 1012 vg per thalamus) and i.t. infusion (3.9 × 1013 vg). Both patients were immunosuppressed. Injection procedures were well tolerated, with no vector-related adverse events (AEs) to date. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) HexA activity increased from baseline and remained stable in both patients. TSD-002 showed disease stabilization by 3 months after injection with ongoing myelination, a temporary deviation from the natural history of infantile TSD, but disease progression was evident at 6 months after treatment. TSD-001 remains seizure-free at 5 years of age on the same anticonvulsant therapy as before therapy. TSD-002 developed anticonvulsant-responsive seizures at 2 years of age. This study provides early safety and proof-of-concept data in humans for treatment of patients with TSD by AAV gene therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Dependovirus / genetics
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Tay-Sachs Disease* / genetics
  • Tay-Sachs Disease* / therapy


  • Anticonvulsants