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Drug selection with paclitaxel restores expression of linked IL-2 receptor γ-chain and multidrug resistance (MDR1) transgenes in canine bone marrow

  • Thomas Licht
  • Mark Haskins
  • Paula Henthorn
  • Sandra E. Kleiman
  • David M. Bodine
  • Todd Whitwam
  • Jennifer M. Puck
  • Michael M. Gottesman
  • John R. Melniczek
The National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Feb 26, 2002
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Unstable expression of transferred genes is a major obstacle to successful gene therapy of hematopoietic diseases. We have investigated in a canine large-animal model whether expression of transduced genes can be recovered in vivo. Mixed-breed dogs had undergone autologous bone marrow transplantation (BMT) with stem cell factor and granulocyte–colony-stimulating factor-mobilized retrovirally marked hematopoietic cells. The bicistronic retroviral vector construct allowed for coexpression of MDR1 and human IL-2 receptor common γ-chain cDNAs. The latter gene is deficient in X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency. After initial high-level expression, P-glycoprotein and the γ-chain were undetectable in blood and bone marrow 17 months post-BMT. Six months later, one dog was treated i.v. with 125 mg/m2 paclitaxel. Three administrations restored expression of the two linked genes to high levels in blood and bone marrow. Two dogs treated with higher paclitaxel doses died from myelosuppression after the first administration. As determined by flow cytometry, both genes were expressed in granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes of the surviving animal. PCR analysis of DNA from peripheral blood confirmed that the retroviral cDNA was increased after paclitaxel treatment, suggesting enrichment of transduced cells. P-glycoprotein was detectable for more than 1 year after cessation of paclitaxel. Repeated analyses of blood and bone marrow aspirates gave no indication of hematopoietic disturbance after BMT with transduced cells and paclitaxel treatment. In summary, we have shown that with the use of a drug-selectable marker gene, chemotherapy can select for cells that express an otherwise nonselected therapeutic gene in blood and bone marrow.

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