Mol Ther 2018 01 12;26(1):280-288. Epub 2017 Sep 12.
Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-5156, USA.
Exposure to replication-competent lentivirus (RCL) is a theoretical safety concern for individuals treated with lentiviral gene therapy. For certain ex vivo gene therapy applications, including cancer immunotherapy trials, RCL detection assays are used to screen the vector product as well as the vector-transduced cells. In this study, we reviewed T cell products screened for RCL using methodology developed in the National Gene Vector Biorepository. All trials utilized third-generation lentiviral vectors produced by transient transfection. Samples from 26 clinical trials totaling 460 transduced cell products from 375 subjects were evaluated. All cell products were negative for RCL. A total of 296 of the clinical trial participants were screened for RCL at least 1 month after infusion of the cell product. No research subject has shown evidence of RCL infection. These findings provide further evidence attesting to the safety of third-generation lentiviral vectors and that testing T cell products for RCL does not provide added value to screening the lentiviral vector product.