Laboratory-Scale Lentiviral Vector Production and Purification for Enhanced Ex Vivo and In Vivo Genetic Engineering

Monica Soldi, Lucia Sergi Sergi, Giulia Unali, Thomas Kerzel, Ivan Cuccovillo, Paola Capasso, Andrea Annoni, Mauro Biffi, Paola Maria Vittoria Rancoita, Alessio Cantore, Angelo Lombardo, Luigi Naldini, Mario Leonardo Squadrito, Anna Kajaste-Rudnitski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lentiviral vectors (LVs) are increasingly employed in gene and cell therapy. Standard laboratory production of LVs is not easily scalable, and research-grade LVs often contain contaminants that can interfere with downstream applications. Moreover, purified LV production pipelines have been developed mainly for costly, large-scale, clinical-grade settings. Therefore, a standardized and cost-effective process is still needed to obtain efficient, reproducible, and properly executed experimental studies and preclinical development of ex vivo and in vivo gene therapies, as high infectivity and limited adverse reactions are important factors potentially influencing experimental outcomes also in preclinical settings. We describe here an optimized laboratory-scale workflow whereby an LV-containing supernatant is purified and concentrated by sequential chromatographic steps, obtaining biologically active LVs with an infectious titer and specific activity in the order of 109 transducing unit (TU)/mL and 5 × 104 TU/ng of HIV Gag p24, respectively. The purification workflow removes >99% of the starting plasmid, DNA, and protein impurities, resulting in higher gene transfer and editing efficiency in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)-repopulating hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) ex vivo, as well as reduced activation of inflammatory responses ex vivo and in vivo as compared to TU-matched, laboratory-grade vectors. Our results highlight the value of accessible purified LV production for experimental studies and preclinical testing. Lentiviral vectors (LVs) are powerful gene-transfer tools routinely exploited for distinct research and clinical applications. LVs produced in most research laboratories contain contaminants that can generate confounding effects in experimental studies. Soldi et al. describe a laboratory-scale workflow for purified LV production, highlighting enhanced gene-editing efficiency and diminished inflammatory responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-425
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Therapy - Methods and Clinical Development
Publication statusPublished - Dec 11 2020


  • ex vivo
  • gene therapy
  • hematopoietic stem cells
  • in vivo
  • innate immunity
  • Lentiviral vectors
  • manufacturing
  • purification process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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