Moayeri M, Hawley TS, Hawley RG
A serious complication of current protein replacement therapy for hemophilia A patients with coagulation factor VIII (FVIII) deficiency is the frequent development of anti-FVIII inhibitor antibodies that preclude therapeutic benefit from further treatment. Induction of tolerance by persistent high-level FVIII synthesis following transplantation with hematopoietic stem cells expressing a retrovirally delivered FVIII transgene offers the possibility of permanently correcting the disease. Here, we transplanted bone marrow cells transduced with an optimized MSCV-based FVIII oncoretroviral vector into immunocompetent hemophilia A mice that had been conditioned with a potentially lethal dose of irradiation (800 cGy), a sublethal dose of irradiation (550 cGy), or a nonmyeloablative preparative regimen involving busulfan. Therapeutic levels of FVIII (42, 18, and 11% of normal, respectively) were detected in the plasma of the transplant recipients for the duration of the study (over 6 months). Moreover, subsequent challenge with recombinant FVIII elicited at most a minor anti-FVIII inhibitor antibody response in any of the experimental animals, in contrast to the vigorous neutralizing humoral reaction to FVIII that was stimulated in naive hemophilia A mice. These findings represent an encouraging advance toward potential clinical application and long-term amelioration or cure of this progressively debilitating, life-threatening bleeding disorder.