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© The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe musclewasting disorder caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene, without curative treatment yet available. Our study provides, for the first time, the overall safety profile and therapeutic dose of a recombinant adeno-associated virus vector, serotype 8 (rAAV8) carrying a modified U7snRNA sequence promoting exon skipping to restore a functional in-frame dystrophin transcript, and injected by locoregional transvenous perfusion of the forelimb. Eighteen Golden Retriever Muscular Dystrophy (GRMD) dogs were exposed to increasing doses of GMP-manufactured vector. Treatment was well tolerated in all, and no acute nor delayed adverse effect, including systemic and immune toxicity was detected. There was a dose relationship for the amount of exon skipping with up to 80% of myofibers expressing dystrophin at the highest dose. Similarly, histological, nuclear magnetic resonance pathological indices and strength improvement responded in a dose-dependent manner. The systematic comparison of effects using different independent methods, allowed to define a minimum threshold of dystrophin expressing fibers (33% for structural measures and 40% for strength) under which there was no clear-cut therapeutic effect. Altogether, these results support the concept of a phase 1/2 trial of locoregional delivery into upper limbs of nonambulatory DMD patients.

Original publication




Journal article


Molecular Therapy

Publication Date





1923 - 1935