Gene transfer provides a practical means for safe, long-term, targeted delivery of biologically active neurotrophic factor proteins for neurodegenerative diseases

Christopher D. Herzog, Kathie M. Bishop, Lamar Brown, Alistair Wilson, Jeffrey H. Kordower, Raymond T. Bartus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Efforts to develop neurotrophic factors to restore function and protect dying neurons in chronic neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's (AD) and Parkinson's (PD) have been attempted for decades. Despite abundant data establishing nonclinical proof-of-concept, significant delivery issues have precluded the successful translation of this concept to the clinic. The development of AAV2 viral vectors to deliver therapeutic genes has emerged as a safe and effective means to achieve sustained, long-term, targeted, bioactive protein expression. Thus, it potentially offers a practical means to solve those long-standing delivery/translational issues associated with neurotrophic factors. Data are presented for two AAV2 viral vector constructs expressing one of two different neurotrophic factors: nerve growth factor (NGF) and neurturin (NRTN). One (AAV2-NGF; aka CERE-110) is being developed as a treatment to improve the function and delay further degeneration of cholinergic neurons in the nucleus basalis of Meynert, the degeneration of which has been linked to cognitive deficits in AD. The other (AAV2-NRTN; aka CERE-120) is similarly being developed to treat the degenerating nigrostriatal dopamine neurons and major motor deficits in PD. The data presented here demonstrate: (1) 2-year, targeted, bioactive-protein in monkeys, (2) persistent, bioactive-protein throughout the life-span of the rat, and (3) accurately targeted bioactive-protein in aged rats, with (4) no safety issues or antibodies to the protein detected. They also provide empirical guidance to establish parameters for human dosing and collectively support the idea that gene transfer may overcome key delivery obstacles that have precluded successful translation of neurotrophic factors to the clinic. More specifically, they also enabled the AAV-NGF and AAV-NRTN programs to advance into ongoing multi-center, double-blind clinical trials in AD and PD patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-382
Number of pages22
JournalDrug Delivery and Translational Research
Volume1
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gene transfer
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Neurotrophic factors
  • Protein delivery
  • Translational research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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