Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Brief Communications Arising
  • Published:

Gene therapy

X-SCID transgene leukaemogenicity


Arising from: Woods, N.-B., Bottero, V., Schmidt, M., von Kalle, C. & Verma, I. M. Nature 440, 1123 (2006); see also communication from Pike-Overzet et al.; Woods et al. reply

Gene therapy has been remarkably effective for the immunological reconstitution of patients with severe combined immune deficiency1,2,3, but the occurrence of leukaemia in a few patients has stimulated debate about the safety of the procedure and the mechanisms of leukaemogenesis4. Woods et al.5 forced high expression of the corrective therapeutic gene IL2RG, which encodes the γ-chain of the interleukin-2 receptor, in a mouse model of the disease and found that tumours appeared in a proportion of cases. Here we show that transgenic IL2RG does not necessarily have potent intrinsic oncogenic properties, and argue that the interpretation of this observation with respect to human trials is overstated.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Cavazzana-Calvo, M. et al. Science 288, 669–672 (2000).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Aiuti, A. et al. Science 296, 2410–2413 (2002).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Gaspar, H. B. et al. Lancet 364, 2181–2187 (2004).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Hacein-Bey-Abina, S. et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 348, 255–256 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Woods, N.-B., Bottero, V., Schmidt, M., von Kalle, C. & Verma, I. M. Nature 440, 1123 (2006).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Hacein-Bey-Abina, S. et al. Science 302, 415–419 (2003).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Dave, U. P., Jenkins, N. A. & Copeland, N. G. Science 303, 333 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Modlich, U. et al. Blood 105, 4235–4246 (2005).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Soudais, C. et al. Blood 95, 3071–3077 (2000).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Otsu, M. et al. Mol. Ther. 1, 145–153 (2000).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Thrasher, A., Gaspar, H., Baum, C. et al. X-SCID transgene leukaemogenicity. Nature 443, E5–E6 (2006).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing