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Repetitive busulfan administration after hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy associated with a dominant HDAC7 clone in a nonhuman primate.

ABSTRACT: The risk of genotoxicity of retroviral vector-delivered gene therapy targeting hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) has been highlighted by the development of clonal dominance and malignancies in human and animal gene therapy trials. Large-animal models have proven invaluable to test the safety of retroviral vectors, but the detection of clonal dominance may require years of follow-up. We hypothesized that hematopoietic stress may accelerate the proliferation and therefore the detection of abnormal clones in these models. We administered four monthly busulfan (Bu) infusions to induce hematopoietic stress in a healthy rhesus macaque previously transplanted with CD34+ cells transduced with retroviral vectors carrying a simple marker gene. Busulfan administration resulted in significant cytopenias with each cycle, and prolonged pancytopenia after the final cycle with eventual recovery. Before busulfan treatment there was highly polyclonal marking in all lineages. After Bu administration clonal diversity was markedly decreased in all lineages. Unexpectedly, we found no evidence of selection of the MDS1/EVI1 clones present before Bu administration, but a clone with a vector integration in intron 1 of the histone deacetylase-7 (HDAC7) gene became dominant in granulocytes over time after Bu administration. The overall marking level in the animal was increased significantly after Bu treatment and coincident with expansion of the HDAC7 clone, suggesting an in vivo advantage for this clone under stress. HDAC7 expression was upregulated in marrow progenitors containing the vector. Almost 5 years after Bu administration, the animal developed progressive cytopenias, and at autopsy the marrow showed complete lack of neutrophil or platelet maturation, with a new population of approximately 20% undifferentiated blasts. These data suggest that chemotherapeutic stress may accelerate vector-related clonal dominance, even in the absence of drug resistance genes expressed by the vector. This model may both accelerate the detection of abnormal clones to facilitate analysis of genotoxicity for human gene therapy, and help assess the safety of administering myelotoxic chemotherapeutic agents in patients previously engrafted with vector-containing cells.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2938356 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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