Molecular therapy. Methods & clinical development

Preclinical Evaluation of a Lentiviral Vector for Huntingtin Silencing.

PMID 28603746


Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder resulting from a polyglutamine expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) protein. There is currently no cure for this disease, but recent studies suggest that RNAi to downregulate the expression of both normal and mutant HTT is a promising therapeutic approach. We previously developed a small hairpin RNA (shRNA), vectorized in an HIV-1-derived lentiviral vector (LV), that reduced pathology in an HD rodent model. Here, we modified this vector for preclinical development by using a tat-independent third-generation LV (pCCL) backbone and removing the original reporter genes. We demonstrate that this novel vector efficiently downregulated HTT expression in vitro in striatal neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) of HD patients. It reduced two major pathological HD hallmarks while triggering a minimal inflammatory response, up to 6 weeks after injection, when administered by stereotaxic surgery in the striatum of an in vivo rodent HD model. Further assessment of this shRNA vector in vitro showed proper processing by the endogenous silencing machinery, and we analyzed gene expression changes to identify potential off-targets. These preclinical data suggest that this new shRNA vector fulfills primary biosafety and efficiency requirements for further development in the clinic as a cure for HD.

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Valpromide, ≥97% (NMR)