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A Nonhuman Primate Transplantation Model to Evaluate Hematopoietic Stem Cell Gene Editing Strategies for β-Hemoglobinopathies

A Nonhuman Primate Transplantation Model to Evaluate Hematopoietic Stem Cell Gene Editing Strategies for β-Hemoglobinopathies

Molecular Therapy. Methods and Clinical Development 8: 75-86

Reactivation of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) is a promising approach for the treatment of β-hemoglobinopathies and the targeting of genes involved in HbF regulation is under intensive investigation. Here, we established a nonhuman primate (NHP) transplantation model to evaluate hematopoietic stem cell (HSC)-based gene editing strategies aimed at reactivating HbF. We first characterized the transient HbF induction to autologous HSC transplantation in pigtailed macaques, which was comparable in duration and amplitude to that of human patients. After validating function of the HbF repressor BCL11A in NHPs, we transplanted a pigtailed macaque with CD34+ cells electroporated with TALE nuclease mRNA targeting the BCL11A coding sequence. In vivo gene editing levels were low, but some BCL11A deletions were detected as late as 200 days post-transplantation. HbF production, as determined by F-cell staining and γ-globin expression, was slightly increased in this animal as compared to transplant controls. We also provided proof-of-concept results for the selection of edited NHP CD34+ cells in culture following integration of the P140K/MGMT cassette at the BCL11A locus. In summary, the NHP model described here will allow the testing of novel therapeutic approaches for hemoglobinopathies and should facilitate clinical translation.

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Accession: 047847864

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PMID: 29276718

DOI: 10.1016/j.omtm.2017.11.005

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