Immunological barriers to haematopoietic stem cell gene therapy
Charlesworth CT., Hsu I., Wilkinson AC., Nakauchi H.
Cell and gene therapies using haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) epitomize the transformative potential of regenerative medicine. Recent clinical successes for gene therapies involving autologous HSC transplantation (HSCT) demonstrate the potential of genetic engineering in this stem cell type for curing disease. With recent advances in CRISPR gene-editing technologies, methodologies for the ex vivo expansion of HSCs and non-genotoxic conditioning protocols, the range of clinical indications for HSC-based gene therapies is expected to significantly expand. However, substantial immunological challenges need to be overcome. These include pre-existing immunity to gene-therapy reagents, immune responses to neoantigens introduced into HSCs by genetic engineering, and unique challenges associated with next-generation and off-the-shelf HSC products. By synthesizing these factors in this Review, we hope to encourage more research to address the immunological issues associated with current and next-generation HSC-based gene therapies to help realize the full potential of this field.