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Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2018 Oct 25;11:143-154. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2018.10.009. eCollection 2018 Dec 14.

Barcoding of Macaque Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells: A Robust Platform to Assess Vector Genotoxicity.

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Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA.
Department of Statistics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
Multidisciplinary Center for Biological Research, University of Campinas, Campinas, SP 13083-877, Brazil.


Gene therapies using integrating retrovirus vectors to modify hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells have shown great promise for the treatment of immune system and hematologic diseases. However, activation of proto-oncogenes via insertional mutagenesis has resulted in the development of leukemia. We have utilized cellular bar coding to investigate the impact of different vector designs on the clonal behavior of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) during in vivo expansion, as a quantitative surrogate assay for genotoxicity in a non-human primate model with high relevance for human biology. We transplanted two rhesus macaques with autologous CD34+ HSPCs transduced with three lentiviral vectors containing different promoters and/or enhancers of a predicted range of genotoxicities, each containing a high-diversity barcode library that uniquely tags each individual transduced HSPC. Analysis of clonal output from thousands of individual HSPCs transduced with these barcoded vectors revealed sustained clonal diversity, with no progressive dominance of clones containing any of the three vectors for up to almost 3 years post-transplantation. Our data support a low genotoxic risk for lentivirus vectors in HSPCs, even those containing strong promoters and/or enhancers. Additionally, this flexible system can be used for the testing of future vector designs.


gene therapy; genotoxicity; lentivirus; non-human primate

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