Delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics by genetically engineered hematopoietic stem cells.
Several populations of adult human stem cells have been identified, but only a few of these are in routine clinical use. The hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) is arguably the most well characterized and the most routinely transplanted adult stem cell. Although details regarding several aspects of this cell's phenotype are not well understood, transplant of HSCs has advanced to become the standard of care for the treatment of a range of monogenic diseases and several types of cancer. It has also proven to be an excellent target for genetic manipulation, and clinical trials have already demonstrated the usefulness of targeting this cell as a means of delivering nucleic acid therapeutics for the treatment of several previously incurable diseases. It is anticipated that additional clinical trials will soon follow, such as genetically engineering HSCs with vectors to treat monogenic diseases such as hemophilia A. In addition to the direct targeting of HSCs, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have the potential to replace virtually any engineered stem cell therapeutic, including HSCs. We now know that for the broad use of genetically modified HSCs for the treatment of non-lethal diseases, e.g. hemophilia A, we must be able to regulate the introduction of nucleic acid sequences into these target cells. We can begin to refine transduction protocols to provide safer approaches to genetically manipulate HSCs and strategies are being developed to improve the overall safety of gene transfer. This review focuses on recent advances in the systemic delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics using genetically modified stem cells, specifically focusing on i) the use of retroviral vectors to genetically modify HSCs, ii) the expression of fVIII from hematopoietic stem cells for the treatment of hemophilia A, and iii) the use of genetically engineered hematopoietic cells generated from iPS cells as treatment for disorders of hematopoiesis.