Preexisting antibody and T cell response against AAVs

Kruzik et al. recently published a paper (Molecular Therapy, 2019) reporting the prevalence of the preexisting immune response against adeno-associated virus (AAV) among 200 international cohorts from the US and EU region. The following are the excerpts from the study. 

Journal Molecular Therapy: Methods & Clinical Development
Abstract"Preexisting immunity against adeno-associated virus (AAV) is a major challenge facing AAV gene therapy, resulting in the exclusion of patients from clinical trials. Accordingly, proper assessment of anti-AAV immunity is necessary for understanding clinical data and for product development. Previous studies on anti-AAV prevalence lack method standardization, rendering the assessment of prevalence difficult. Addressing this need, we used clinical assays that were validated according to guidelines for a comprehensive characterization of anti-AAV1, -AAV2, -AAV5, and -AAV8 immunity in large international cohorts of healthy donors and patients with hemophilia B. Here, we report a higher than expected average prevalence for anti-AAV8 (∼40%) and anti-AAV5 (∼30%) neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), which is supported by strongly correlating anti-AAV IgG antibody titers. A similar anti-AAV8 NAb prevalence was observed in hemophilia B patients. In addition, a high co-prevalence of NAbs against other serotypes makes switching to gene therapy using another serotype difficult. As anti-AAV T cell responses are believed to influence transduction, we characterized anti-AAV T cell responses using interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) ELISpot assays, revealing a similar prevalence of IFN-γ responses (∼20%) against different serotypes that did not correlate with NAbs. These data, along with the long-term stability of NAbs, emphasize the need to develop strategies to circumvent anti-AAV immunity."

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