Towards Human Translation of Lentiviral Airway Gene Delivery for Cystic Fibrosis: A One-Month CFTR and Reporter Gene Study in Marmosets

Nigel Farrow, Patricia Cmielewski, Juliette Delhove, Nathan Rout-Pitt, Lewis Vaughan, Tim Kuchel, Chris Christou, John Finnie, Matthew Smith, Emma Knight, Martin Donnelley, David Parsons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Gene therapy continues to be a promising contender for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) airway disease. We have previously demonstrated that airway conditioning with lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) followed by delivery of a HIV-1-based lentiviral (LV) vector functionally corrects the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) defect in the nasal airways of CF mice. In our earlier pilot study we showed that our technique can transduce marmoset lungs acutely; this study extends that work to examine gene expression in this nonhuman primate (NHP) 1 month after gene vector treatment. A mixture of three separate HIV-1 vesicular stomatitis virus G (VSV-G)-pseudotyped LV vectors containing the luciferase (Luc), LacZ, and hCFTR transgenes was delivered into the trachea through a miniature bronchoscope. We examined whether a single-dose delivery of LV vector after LPC conditioning could increase levels of transgene expression in the trachea and lungs compared with control (phosphate-buffered saline [PBS]) conditioning. At 1 month, bioluminescence was detected in vivo in the trachea of three of the six animals within the PBS control group, compared with five of the six LPC-treated animals. When examined ex vivo there was weak evidence that LPC improves tracheal Luc expression levels. In the lungs, bioluminescence was detected in vivo in four of the six PBS-treated animals, compared with five of the six LPC-treated animals; however, bioluminescence was present in all lungs when imaged ex vivo. LacZ expression was predominantly observed in the alveolar regions of the lung. hCFTR was detected by qPCR in the lungs of five animals. Basal cells were successfully isolated and expanded from marmoset tracheas, but no LacZ-positive colonies were detected. There was no evidence of an inflammatory response toward the LV vector at 1 month postdelivery, with cytokines remaining at baseline levels. In conclusion, we found weak evidence that LPC conditioning improved gene transduction in the trachea, but not in the marmoset lungs. We also highlight some of the challenges associated with translational lung gene therapy studies in NHPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-816
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number15-16
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2021

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