The influence of genetics on therapeutic developments in pulmonary alveolar proteinosis

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) is characterized by the massive accumulation of lipoproteinaceous material within alveoli, which results in progressive respiratory failure. The abnormalities in surfactant clearance are caused by defective pulmonary macrophages, whose terminal differentiation is GM-CSF-dependent. In hereditary PAP, the rupture of GM-CSF signaling is because of mutations in the GM-CSF receptor genes. This review focus on the innovative technologies of gene-correction proposed for the development of new therapeutic strategies, for hereditary PAP patients. RECENT FINDINGS: Hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy has been successfully experimented in murine models to restore the expression of the GM-CSF receptor, however, a therapeutic approach based on bone marrow transplantation requires a preconditioning, which could be hazardous in PAP patients, who are highly susceptible to pulmonary infections. Gene-corrected pulmonary macrophages, administered directly to the lung, could represent an improved approach. Finally, patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells seem to be promising to overcome the limited availability of primary patient cells and to generate gene-corrected macrophages, able to recover pulmonary surfactant clearance. SUMMARY: WLL is the gold standard therapy for PAP. However, its use in hereditary PAP is limited by the difficulty of performing this technique in paediatric patients and by its purely symptomatic efficacy. The recent advances in genome engineering could provide efficacious strategies for clinical application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-299
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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