Mucopolysaccharidosis type VI (MPS VI) is an inherited multisystem lysosomal disorder due to arylsulfatase B (ARSB) deficiency that leads to widespread accumulation of glycosaminoglycans (GAG), which are excreted in increased amounts in urine. MPS VI is characterized by progressive dysostosis multiplex, connective tissue and cardiac involvement, and hepatosplenomegaly. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is available but requires life-long and costly intravenous infusions; moreover, it has limited efficacy on diseased skeleton and cardiac valves, compromised pulmonary function, and corneal opacities.
We enrolled nine patients with MPS VI 4 years of age or older in a phase 1/2 open-label gene therapy study. After ERT was interrupted, patients each received a single intravenous infusion of an adeno-associated viral vector serotype 8 expressing ARSB. Participants were sequentially enrolled in one of three dose cohorts: low (three patients), intermediate (two patients), or high (four patients). The primary outcome was safety; biochemical and clinical end points were secondary outcomes.
The infusions occurred without severe adverse events attributable to the vector, meeting the prespecified end point. Participants in the low and intermediate dose cohorts displayed stable serum ARSB of approximately 20% of the mean healthy value but returned to ERT by 14 months after gene therapy because of increased urinary GAG. Participants in the high-dose cohort had sustained serum ARSB of 30% to 100% of the mean healthy value and a modest urinary GAG increase that did not reach a concentration at which ERT reintroduction was needed. In the high-dose group, there was no clinical deterioration for up to 2 years after gene therapy.
Liver-directed gene therapy for participants with MPS VI did not have a dose-limiting side-effect and adverse event profile; high-dose treatment resulted in ARSB expression over at least 24 months with preliminary evidence of disease stabilization. (Funded by the Telethon Foundation ETS, the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme, and the Isaac Foundation; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03173521; EudraCT number, 2016-002328-10.)