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Gene Ther. 2000 Aug;7(16):1392-400.

Retrovirus-mediated transduction of primary ZAP-70-deficient human T cells results in the selective growth advantage of gene-corrected cells: implications for gene therapy.

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Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier, CNRS UMR 5535 IFR 24, France.


Humans lacking the ZAP-70 protein tyrosine kinase present with an absence of CD8+ T cells and defective CD4+ T cells in the periphery. This severe combined immunodeficiency is fatal unless treated by allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. However, in the absence of suitable marrow donors, the development of alternative forms of therapy is desirable. Because lymphocytes are long-lived, it is possible that introduction of the wild-type ZAP-70 gene into CD4+ ZAP-70-deficient T cells will restore their immune function in vivo. Initial investigations evaluating the feasibility of gene therapy for ZAP-70 deficiency were performed using HTL V-I-transformed lymphocytes. Although transformation was useful in circumventing problems associated with the maintenance of ZAP-70-deficient T cells and low gene transfer levels, the presence of HTL V-I precluded any biological studies. Here, we investigated a retrovirus-mediated approach for the correction of primary T cells derived from two ZAP-70-deficient patients. Upon introduction of the wild-type ZAP-70 gene, TCR-induced MAPK activation, IL-2 secretion and proliferation were restored to approximately normal levels. Importantly, this gain-of-function was associated with a selective growth advantage of gene-corrected cells, thereby indicating the feasibility of a gene therapy-based strategy.

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