Surfactant protein B (SP-B) deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder that impairs surfactant homeostasis and manifests as lethal respiratory distress. A compelling argument exists for gene therapy to treat this disease, as de novo protein synthesis of SP-B in alveolar type 2 epithelial cells is required for proper surfactant production. Here we report a rationally designed adeno-associated virus (AAV) 6 capsid that demonstrates efficiency in lung epithelial cell transduction based on imaging and flow cytometry analysis. Intratracheal administration of this vector delivering murine or human proSFTPB cDNA into SP-B deficient mice restores surfactant homeostasis, prevents lung injury, and improves lung physiology. Untreated SP-B deficient mice develop fatal respiratory distress within two days. Gene therapy results in an improvement in median survival to greater than 200 days. This vector also transduces human lung tissue, demonstrating its potential for clinical translation against this lethal disease.
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute