Clinical advances in gene therapy updates on clinical trials of gene therapy in haemophilia

Flora Peyvandi, Isabella Garagiola

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Gene therapy is rapidly becoming a new therapeutic strategy for haemophilia A and B treatment. In the 1990s, studies in animal models showed that adeno-associated vectors (AAV) exhibited an efficient expression of factor IX (FIX). In the first clinical trial in patients with haemophilia B, therapeutic levels of FIX were documented but the expression remained only for few weeks. Subsequently, improvements in vector design, such as the use of different AAV serotypes, the development of the self-complementary vector, the engineering of the transgene with codon optimization and liver-specific expression cassette resulted in circulating FIX level between 2% and 5% for long-lasting period. Recently, a natural gain of function FIX variant (Padua) inserted in the F9 cDNA improved the expression of FIX achieving a level of more than 30% resulting in cessation of infusions and in a greatly reduction of bleeding events. Encouraging clinical progresses have been also obtained from trials of gene therapy for haemophilia A. Transgene expression persisted for three years with circulating FVIII activity levels of 52.3% in patients treated with AAV vector containing a codon-optimized F8 cDNA. A complication, reported in both clinical trials for haemophilia A and B, was the elevation of liver enzymes, which resolved with steroid treatment in a large group of patients. However, to date, the pathophysiological mechanism for the liver toxicity remains still unclear. Clinical trials with adeno-associated vectors have documented a significant success for haemophilia gene therapy demonstrating potential to transform haemophilia treatment offering hope for a long-term expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-746
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • adeno-associated virus
  • clinical trials
  • factor IX
  • factor VIII
  • gene therapy
  • haemophilia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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