Background: Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors are a promising platform for in vivo transfer of transgenes designed to treat diseases. Pre-existing humoral immunity to these vectors can potentially impact the safety and efficacy of gene therapies. Consequently, individuals with pre-existing antibodies to the specific AAV serotypes used may be excluded from clinical trials and treatments. Recombinant AAV serotype rh74 (rAAVrh74), a vector originally isolated from rhesus monkeys and potentially less immunogenic than other serotypes isolated from humans (e.g. AAV2, AAV5, and AAV9), efficiently transduces muscle and is being investigated for use in gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Objective: To evaluate prevalence of total binding antibodies (neutralizing and non-neutralizing) against rAAVrh74 in patients with DMD. Methods: Eligible individuals (N = 107) were ⩾ 4 to < 18 years old with genetically confirmed DMD and were excluded from the study if they lived with a person who had known exposure to rAAVrh74 or other gene transfer therapy, or if they received prior treatment with gene transfer therapy. A single blood sample was obtained from each participant, and anti-rAAVrh74 total binding antibodies were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Total binding antibody level < 1:400 was defined as not elevated or seronegative. Primary endpoint was the percentage of subjects with elevated total antibody titers to rAAVrh74. Results: A large preponderance (86.1%) of patients with DMD in this data set was seronegative for anti-rAAVrh74 total binding antibodies. These patients would potentially meet the antibody status eligibility criterion for entry into rAAVrh74-based gene therapy clinical trials. Conclusion: Measuring total binding antibodies is a more comprehensive approach to assess pre-existing immune response versus measuring neutralizing antibodies alone. The low seroprevalence of total binding antibodies against rAAVrh74 shown here supports the broad applicability of rAAVrh74-based gene transfer therapy for patients with DMD and potentially other neuromuscular diseases.
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- gene transfer therapy