Safety, Biodistribution, and Efficacy of an AAV-5 Vector Encoding Human Interferon-Beta (ART-I02) Delivered via Intra-Articular Injection in Rhesus Monkeys with Collagen-Induced Arthritis

Lisette Bevaart, Caroline J. Aalbers, Michel P. M. Vierboom, Niels Broekstra, Ivanela Kondova, Elia Breedveld, Bernd Hauck, J. Fraser Wright, Paul Peter Tak, Margriet J. Vervoordeldonk

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Preclinical studies to assess biodistribution, safety, and initial efficacy of ART-I02, an adeno-associated type 5 (rAAV5) vector expressing human interferon β (hIFN-β), were performed in a total of 24 rhesus monkeys with collagen-induced arthritis. All monkeys were naïve or showed limited neutralizing antibody (Nab) titers to AAV5 at the start of the study. Animals were injected with a single intra-articular dose of ART-I02 or placebo, consisting of 3.2×10(13) vg (Dose A=maximum feasible dose), 4.58×10(12) vg (Dose B), or placebo in the first affected finger joint, the ipsilateral knee, and ankle joint at the same time point. Animals were monitored for clinical parameters and well-being with a maximum of 4 weeks, with the option that the severity of arthritis could necessitate an earlier time point of sacrifice. No adverse events were noted after injection of ART-I02. No abnormalities were observed after histological evaluation of all organs. At both dose levels, immunohistochemical staining indicated expression of hIFN-β. In animals injected with Dose A, we observed stabilization or a reduction in swelling in the finger joint in which vector was administered. The highest copy numbers of vector DNA were detected in synovial tissue of the injected joint and the draining lymph node of the injected knee. High titers of Nab to rAAV5 were observed at the end of the study. Five monkeys developed an rAAV5-specific T-cell response. Two monkeys developed Nab to hIFN-β. In conclusion, intra-articular injection of ART-I02 was well-tolerated and did not induce adverse events. After administration of Dose A of ART-I02, we observed a beneficial effect on joint swelling, substantiated by decreased histological inflammation and bone erosion scores. A GMP vector for clinical application has been manufactured and is currently being tested in GLP rodent studies, with the aim to move forward to a clinical trial
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
JournalHuman gene therapy. Clinical development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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