5 years ago

Gene and cell therapy for children — New medicines, new challenges?

Gene and cell therapy for children — New medicines, new challenges?
The range of possible gene and cell therapy applications is expanding at an extremely rapid rate and advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) are currently the hottest topic in novel medicines, particularly for inherited diseases. Paediatric patients stand to gain enormously from these novel therapies as it now seems plausible to develop a gene or cell therapy for a vast number of inherited diseases. There are a wide variety of potential gene and cell therapies in various stages of development. Patients who received first gene therapy treatments for primary immune deficiencies (PIDs) are reaching 10 and 15years post-treatment, with robust and sustained immune recovery. Cell therapy clinical trials are underway for a variety of tissues including corneal, retinal and muscle repair and islet cell transplantation. Various cell therapy approaches are also being trialled to enhance the safety of bone marrow transplants, which should improve survival rates in childhood cancers and PIDs. Progress in genetic engineering of lymphocyte populations to target and kill cancerous cells is also described. If successful these ATMPs may enhance or replace the existing chemo-ablative therapy for several paediatric cancers. Emerging applications of gene therapy now include skin and neurological disorders such as epidermolysis bullosa, epilepsy and leukodystrophy. Gene therapy trials for haemophilia, muscular dystrophy and a range of metabolic disorders are underway. There is a vast array of potential advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs), and these are likely to be more cost effective than existing medicines. However, the first clinical trials have not been without setbacks and some of the key adverse events are discussed. Furthermore, the arrival of this novel class of therapies brings many new challenges for the healthcare industry. We present a summary of the key non-clinical factors required for successful delivery of these potential treatments. Technological advances are needed in vector design, raw material manufacture, cell culture and transduction methodology, and particularly in making all these technologies readily scalable.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0169409X14000325

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