Yi A. Chen, Mark W. Kankel, Sam Hana, Shukkwan Kelly Lau, Maria I. Zavodszky, Olivia McKissick, Nicole Mastrangelo, Jessica Dion, Bin Wang, Daniel Ferretti, David Koske, Sydney Lehman, Kathryn Koszka, Helen McLaughlin, Mei Liu, Eric Marshall, Attila J. Fabian, Patrick Cullen, Galina Marsh, Stefan Hamann, Michael Craft, Jennifer Sebalusky, H. Moore Arnold, Rachelle Driscoll, Adam Sheehy, Yi Luo, Sonia Manca, Thomas Carlile, Chao Sun, Kirsten Sigrist, Alexander McCampbell, Christopher E. Henderson, and Shih-Ching Lo
CRISPR-based gene editing technology represents a promising approach to deliver therapies for inherited disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Toxic gain-of-function superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutations are responsible for ~20% of familial ALS cases. Thus, current clinical strategies to treat SOD1-ALS are designed to lower SOD1 levels. Here, we utilized AAV-PHP.B variants to deliver CRISPR-Cas9 guide RNAs designed to disrupt the human SOD1 (huSOD1) transgene in SOD1G93A mice. A one-time intracerebroventricular injection of AAV.PHP.B-huSOD1-sgRNA into neonatal H11Cas9 SOD1G93A mice caused robust and sustained mutant huSOD1 protein reduction in the cortex and spinal cord, and restored motor function. Neonatal treatment also reduced spinal motor neuron loss, denervation at neuromuscular junction (NMJ) and muscle atrophy, diminished axonal damage and preserved compound muscle action potential throughout the lifespan of treated mice. SOD1G93A treated mice achieved significant disease-free survival, extending lifespan by more than 110 days. Importantly, a one-time intrathecal or intravenous injection of AAV.PHP.eB-huSOD1-sgRNA in adult H11Cas9 SOD1G93A mice, immediately before symptom onset, also extended lifespan by at least 170 days. We observed substantial protection against disease progression, demonstrating the utility of our CRISPR editing preclinical approach for target evaluation. Our approach uncovered key parameters (e.g., AAV capsid, Cas9 expression) that resulted in improved efficacy compared to similar approaches and can also serve to accelerate drug target validation.
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