Abstract

Primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDs) encompass a range of diseases due to mutations in genes that are critical for immunity. Haploinsufficiency and gain-of-function mutations are more complex than simple loss-of-function mutations; in addition to increased susceptibility to infections, immune dysregulations like autoimmunity and hyperinflammation are common presentations. Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapy, using integrating vectors, provides potential cure of disease, but genome-wide transgene insertions and the lack of physiological endogenous gene regulation may yet present problems, and not applicable in PIDs where immune regulation is paramount. Targeted genome editing addresses these concerns; we discuss some approaches of CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)/Cas system applicable for gene therapy in PIDs. Preclinical repair of gene mutations and insertion of complementary DNA restore endogenous gene regulation and they have shown very promising data for clinical application. However, ongoing studies to characterize off-target genotoxicity, careful donor designs to ensure physiological expression, and maneuvers to optimize engraftment potential are critical to ensure successful application of this next-gen targeted HSC gene therapy.

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