Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a common autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator gene. Recombinant adenoviruses have shown promise as vectors for transfer of CF transmembrane conductance regulator cDNA to airway epithelia and correction of the Cl- transport defect. However, because adenovirus-mediated gene transfer is transient, use of adenovirus as a vector for treatment of CF would require repeated administration. Therefore, we evaluated repeat administration of an adenovirus vector to the nasal epithelium of patients with CF with five escalating doses of up to 10(10) infectious units. There were no detectable adverse affects. All subjects were initially seropositive but developed additional humoral immune responses. The vector partially corrected the defect in airway epithelial Cl- transport in some subjects, although there was variability between subjects and there was less correction with subsequent administration, perhaps because the immune response limited gene transfer. Future work must focus on vectors with increased efficiency and with the ability to evade host defenses.