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© 2015 Alton et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY. Background: Lung delivery of plasmid DNA encoding the CFTR gene complexed with a cationic liposome is a potential treatment option for patients with cystic fibrosis. We aimed to assess the efficacy of non-viral CFTR gene therapy in patients with cystic fibrosis. Methods: We did this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2b trial in two cystic fibrosis centres with patients recruited from 18 sites in the UK. Patients (aged ≥12 years) with a forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV < inf > 1 < /inf > ) of 50-90% predicted and any combination of CFTR mutations, were randomly assigned, via a computer-based randomisation system, to receive 5 mL of either nebulised pGM169/GL67A gene-liposome complex or 0·9% saline (placebo) every 28 days (plus or minus 5 days) for 1 year. Randomisation was stratified by % predicted FEV < inf > 1 < /inf > ( < 70 vs ≥70%), age ( < 18 vs ≥18 years), inclusion in the mechanistic substudy, and dosing site (London or Edinburgh). Participants and investigators were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was the relative change in % predicted FEV < inf > 1 < /inf > . The primary analysis was per protocol. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01621867. Findings: Between June 12, 2012, and June 24, 2013, we randomly assigned 140 patients to receive placebo (n=62) or pGM169/GL67A (n=78), of whom 116 (83%) patients comprised the per-protocol population. We noted a significant, albeit modest, treatment effect in the pGM169/GL67A group versus placebo at 12 months' follow-up (3·7%, 95% CI 0·1-7·3; p=0·046). This outcome was associated with a stabilisation of lung function in the pGM169/GL67A group compared with a decline in the placebo group. We recorded no significant difference in treatment-attributable adverse events between groups. Interpretation: Monthly application of the pGM169/GL67A gene therapy formulation was associated with a significant, albeit modest, benefit in FEV < inf > 1 < /inf > compared with placebo at 1 year, indicating a stabilisation of lung function in the treatment group. Further improvements in efficacy and consistency of response to the current formulation are needed before gene therapy is suitable for clinical care; however, our findings should also encourage the rapid introduction of more potent gene transfer vectors into early phase trials. Funding: Medical Research Council/National Institute for Health Research Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/S2213-2600(15)00245-3

Type

Journal article

Journal

The Lancet Respiratory Medicine

Publication Date

01/01/2015

Volume

3

Pages

684 - 691