Transcutaneous Ultrasound-Mediated Nonviral Gene Delivery to the Liver in a Porcine Model

Tran, Dominic M., Feng Zhang, Kyle P. Morrison, Keith R. Loeb, James Harrang, Masaki Kajimoto, Francisco Chavez, Li Wu, and Carol H. Miao. "Transcutaneous Ultrasound-Mediated Nonviral Gene Delivery to the Liver in a Porcine Model." Molecular Therapy-Methods & Clinical Development 14 (2019): 275-284.

Ultrasound (US)-mediated gene delivery (UMGD) of nonviral vectors was demonstrated in this study to be an effective method to transfer genes into the livers of large animals via a minimally invasive approach. We developed a transhepatic venous nonviral gene delivery protocol in combination with transcutaneous, therapeutic US (tUS) to facilitate significant gene transfer in pig livers. A balloon catheter was inserted into the pig hepatic veins of the target liver lobes via jugular vein access under fluoroscopic guidance. tUS exposure was continuously applied to the lobe with simultaneous infusion of pGL4 plasmid (encoding a luciferase reporter gene) and microbubbles. tUS was delivered via an unfocused, two-element disc transducer (H105) or a novel focused, single-element transducer (H114). We found applying transcutaneous US using H114 and H105 with longer pulses and reduced acoustic pressures resulted in an over 100-fold increase in luciferase activity relative to untreated lobes. We also showed effective UMGD by achieving focal regions of >105 relative light units (RLUs)/mg protein with minimal tissue damage, demonstrating the feasibility for clinical translation of this technique to treat patients with genetic diseases.

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