Gene therapy for lysosomal storage disorders: recent advances for metachromatic leukodystrophy and mucopolysaccaridosis I 

Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease Volume 40pages543–554 (2017)

Rachele Penati, Francesca Fumagalli, Valeria Calbi, Maria Ester Bernardo & Alessandro Aiuti

Lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) are rare inherited metabolic disorders characterized by a dysfunction in lysosomes, leading to waste material accumulation and severe organ damage. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) and haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) have been exploited as potential treatments for LSDs but pre-clinical and clinical studies have shown in some cases limited efficacy. Intravenous ERT is able to control the damage of visceral organs but cannot prevent nervous impairment. Depending on the disease type, HSCT has important limitations when performed for early variants, unless treatment occurs before disease onset. In the attempt to overcome these issues, gene therapy has been proposed as a valuable therapeutic option, either ex vivo, with target cells genetically modified in vitro, or in vivo, by inserting the genetic material with systemic or intra-parenchymal, in situ administration. In particular, the use of autologous haematopoietic stem cells (HSC) transduced with a viral vector containing a healthy copy of the mutated gene would allow supra-normal production of the defective enzyme and cross correction of target cells in multiple tissues, including the central nervous system. This review will provide an overview of the most recent scientific advances in HSC-based gene therapy approaches for the treatment of LSDs with a particular focus on metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) and mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS-I).